CARMEN COPPER CORPORATION
Carmen Copper Corporation (CCC) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation (Atlas). CCC has an operating agreement with Atlas and it has exclusive operating rights over the in situ mineral resources and ore reserves of Carmen, Lutopan and Biga mineral deposits, collectively known as Toledo Copper Mine Complex covering 1, 674 hectares. This is part of the Atlas mineral property covering 5,218 hectares, consisting of 3,284.48 hectares Atlas-owned mining claims and 1, 934 hectares of mining claims belonging to claim-owners who have valid operating agreements with Atlas. CCC restarted the Toledo mining operation in September 2007.
In September 16, 2004, Carmen Copper Corporation (CCC) was incorporated as a subsidiary company of Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation (Atlas) to operate the Toledo Copper Mine located at Barangay Don Andres Soriano, Toledo City.
ACMDC was a merger of Antamok Gold Mines, Masbate Consolidated Mining Company, and IXL Mining Company which started operating the Toledo Copper Mine in 1953. It began at a time when the Philippine mining industry considered copper mining unprofitable. Don Andres Soriano y Roxas, a leading industrialist, saw that the rebirth of mining is in the copper industry. Foreseeing the demand for copper ore in the world market, he merged the various mining firms under his aegis to shift emphasis to copper production. From its modest beginning, Atlas has steadily grown through the years until it became the largest producer of copper in the Far East and one of the biggest copper mines in the world.
However, in the mid-80s, Atlas production began to taper off due to falling copper price and operational downsizing. Further metal price fluctuations years ahead resulted to successive yearly negative cash-flow performances. With a major material liquefaction event ('mudrush’ ) in the Carmen underground which significantly cut off its production lifeline, the remaining Atlas operations were suspended indefinitely on August 16, 1994.
For 12 long years after its suspension, Atlas Mine was put into a state of care-and-maintenance that was managed by a token crew of security and administrative personnel who handled the necessary post-operation services and preservation of company assets. It was during these idle periods too that a number of potential investors visited the mine to assess the environment for possible reoperation. A series of feasibility studies was conducted, considered and set aside to wait for the right investor to come in.
On May 5, 2006, CCC entered into an operating agreement with Atlas covering the Toledo mining rights which included operating rights pertaining to the mining claims under the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) 210-2005-VII. In the same year, Atlas concluded a funding transaction with a Singapore-based equity partner, Crescent Asian Special Opportunities Portfolio (CASOP), to finance the Toledo mine rehabilitation and reopening. This development set into motion the clock to re-start the road to rehabilitation.
In 2007, CCC secured a loan facility from Deutsche Bank AG, fully guaranteed by the Trade and Investment Development Corporation of the Philippines (TIDCORP). With this initial funding available, Phase-1 rehabilitation of the Toledo Copper Mine commenced in September 2007.
Almost a year after rehabilitation began, the Toledo mine reopened at the start-up milling rate of 20,000 metric tons of copper ore per day. Since December 2008, CCC has already delivered 81 shipments of copper concentrates to smelters in China and South Korea.
HIGHLIGHTS OF CURRENT OPERATIONS
In 2012, Carmen Copper set a new record of 90 million pounds of copper metal in concentrate, an increase of 27% from 71 million pounds in 2011.
Mining operations, likewise, improved with an 88% increase in total materials moved and a 12% increase in equipment availability. The total materials moved from Lutopan Pit and Carment Pit amounted to more than 90 million metric tonnes; 17% or 15 million metric tonnes of which consisted of ore production. The overall improvement in grade of ore mined resulted in a 10% increase in mill copper head grade from 0.298% to 0.327%.
The Carmen Pit development advanced with a total waste stripping volume of 55 million tonnes, 78% or 43 million tonnes of which were stripped in 2012. The first ore delivery was made in June 2012, a modest accomplishment that marked the steady progress of stripping activities with incidental ore production totalling 1 million dry metric tonnes of ore at a copper ore grade of 0.395%.
The Carmen Concentrator plant milled 15 million dry metric tonnes of copper. Production throughput increased by 11% resulting from the installation of four (4) new secondary and tertiary crushers in replacement of the old hydrocone units in the last quarter of 2011. As a result, a steady daily mill throughput of more than 40 thousand metric tonnes per day was achieved. An improvement in the flotation process was also achieved resulting in an increase in copper recovery from 78% in 2011 to 82% in 2012.
The Biga Pit remains to be a strong, safe and secure tailings disposal facility given its land-locked feature. The water has a PH of 7.5 to 8 which allows fish species like tilapia to thrive in it.
Carmen Copper delivered 32 shipments in 2012 amounting to 155 thousand dry metric tonnes of copper concentrate. The bulk of the copper concentrate were shipped to smelters in China while a small portion was downloaded at the Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corporation (PASAR) smelting plant in Isabel, Leyte. Likewise, two (2) magnetite concentrate shipments weighing 20 thousand dry metric tonnes were also delivered to foreign smelters.
MINERAL RESOURCES AND ORE RESERVES
The Toledo Copper Mine is operated by Carmen Copper Corporation (CCC) and produced 27 Kilo tonnes of copper metal and 8 Kilo ounces of gold in 2010. In 2011, it is forecasted to produce a further 39 Kilo tonnes of copper concentrate containing 10 Kilo ounces of gold.
AMC Consultants, Brisbane, Australia completed the (Joint Ore Reserves Committee) JORC Resource and Reserve in late 2010. The revised Ore Reserve is part of the Atlas/CCC management strategic plan to optimise the Toledo operation to maximise shareholder value with a long-term sustainable mine life and represents a substantial increase in value from the 1994 Atlas Resource and Reserve.
This milestone clears the way for Atlas/CCC to devise long-term plans for the operation in excess of 20 years at current metal prices. For technical reasons the Reserve is currently limited to 483Mt due to possible future restrictions in tailings storage facilities, which Atlas/CCC management is working to address this concern and further believe the reserve will ultimately be increased.
A look at Carmen Copper's expansion project:
1) Isometric view of the new installation relative to existing Carmen Concentrator facility.
2) Perspective view of new installations including high rate tails thickeners (blue) in foreground.
3) Perspective view with high rate concentrate thickener upgrade and Courier analyzer (multi-colored) to the left
4) Isometric view of new installation relative to existing Carmen Concentrator facility
The Atlas’s Toledo Copper Mine is located within the geographical area of Barangay Don Andres Soriano, Toledo City, Province of Cebu, Philippines. The island province of Cebu is located at the center of the Visayas region. It is a long and narrow landmass extending more than 200 kilometers from north to south but just 40 kilometers from east to west at its widest point.
Cebu City is the provincial capital which lies on the east coast and is the main shipping hub servicing Central Philippines. CCC’s mine site (Toledo Copper Mine) is located on the western slope of the central highland roughly in between the island’s east and west coastlines. It is about 15 kilometers away from Toledo City and about 60 kilometers from Cebu City.