Mining at Highland Valley Copper

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 85, No. 962, 1992

A. David MacPhail, Manager, Mining, Highland Valley Copper, Vancouver, British Columbia

Highland Valley Copper is a large volume producer of copper and molybdenum concentrates. Production is by conventional truck and shovel operation combined with an extensive ore handling in-pit crushing and conveying system. Grade of the two orebodies is low at 0.4% copper and 0.007% molybdenum and this demands a production rate in excess of 260 000 tpd at a stripping ratio of 1:1. Mining cost has to be kept at minimum levels to keep the mine profitable and thus, it is necessary to keep in the forefront of technology. As well as the in-pit crushing system, the mine has pioneered the use of shovel weighing coupled with a state-of-the-art dispatch system. Maintenance of the equipment is carried out at the on-site mine maintenance shop with assistance from local shops for engine and wheelmotor rebuilds and other large jobs such as those requiring stress relieving. Shovel and truck rebuilds are undertaken by mine crews. Both long- and short-term planning is designed and scheduled in the mine engineering section. Outside consultants are used to assist in slope design, reclamation and blasting technology.