Integrated Feasibility Study For Nevada Copper's Pumpkin Hollow Cuts Out ~$300 Million In Capex Requirements

Integrated Feasibility Study for Nevada Copper's Pumpkin Hollow Cuts Out ~$300 Million in Capex RequirementsNevada Copper (TSX:NCU) has hit a number of important milestones at its Pumpkin Hollow project in Nevada over the past year, and on Thursday it reached another one with the release of an updated feasibility study for the project.

Previously, Nevada Copper put out separate feasibility studies for its Stage 1 underground and Stage 2 open-pit mines at Pumpkin Hollow. That's because Stage 1 could be permitted under state regulations under a shorter timeline, while Stage 2 was subject to federal regulations.

However, in December, the US Senate approved a key land swap that put Stage 2 under state jurisdiction. Nevada Copper now expects to move ahead more quickly with Stage 2, and has updated an earlier feasibility study that integrates both stages of the project as a result.

By the numbers

The most recent study contemplates a 63,500-ton-per-day open-pit mine and a 6,500-ton-per-day underground operation, both feeding into a single 70,000-ton-per-day concentrator. Pumpkin Hollow is expected to produce 4.5 billion pounds of copper, 512,000 ounces of gold and 15.6 million ounces of silver over its 23-year mine life. Average life-of-mine C1 production costs are set at $1.73 per pound of payable copper ($1.49 per pound in years one to five).

Overall, Pumpkin Hollow will garner $1.07 billion in initial capital costs, including contingencies, for after-tax net cash flow of $2.6 billion and a NPV of approximately $1.1 billion. The project features an after-tax IRR of 15.5 percent with a payback period of 4.9 years. Those numbers are for a base-case price scenario of $3.15 per pound copper, $1,200 per ounce gold and $18 per ounce silver, but Nevada Copper has also provided low- and high-price scenarios of $2.85 and $2.75 copper, respectively.