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More Reserves in Pima County Rosemont Copper Mine

By Tony Davis for the Arizona Daily Star

Original Headline: Rosemont Mine Site is Richer

The proposed Rosemont Mine’s mineral deposit has about 34 percent more of its most common form of copper resources than previously thought, Rosemont Copper’s Canadian-based parent company says.

While Augusta Resource Corp. isn’t ready to say how this larger estimate would affect Rosemont’s operations, an analyst said it could extend the mine’s life somewhat, perhaps by as many as seven years beyond its current, 20-year estimate.

Augusta’s new estimate is about 919M tons of “measured and indicated” copper sulfide resources, 232M tons more than previously thought. The resource’s grade is about 0.41 percent actual copper, Augusta, of Vancouver, British Columbia, said in a news release last Tuesday. The company’s estimate of copper oxide remains the same as before: 63.1M tons, at a grade of 0.17 percent copper.

To update its resource estimates, Augusta used a total of 266 drill holes, 342K feet of drilling in all, including 12 recently drilled holes, the company said. The company contracted with Moose Mountain Technical Services of British Columbia to conduct the updated resource estimate.

Christopher Chang, a Toronto-based analyst who follows Augusta, says the bigger deposit won’t affect his estimates of the project’s dollar value because that extension period is so far away.

Overall, it’s not a “game-changer” for the company, Chang said. Many copper experts have placed a high value on the quality of the Rosemont copper resource. But Rosemont Copper has struggled for five years to get the mine permitted in the face of intense opposition from some sectors of the local community and strong support from others.

Tom Purdon, a board member of the Rosemont opposition group, Save the Scenic Santa Ritas, said Augusta’s announcement of the upgraded mineral resource was timed suspiciously, coming one day after the Web-based stock analyst Portfolio Grader downgraded Augusta’s stock from a D to an F and gave it a “strong sell” rating.

Read more at AZStarNet