Mount Milligan copper-gold mine starts production in Central Interior

Mount Milligan is now a mine. No longer a "proposed project" and no longer "under construction," the Thompson Creek Metals facility is now open for business in between Fort St. James and Mackenzie. The $1.5-billion investment officially began to reap returns on Tuesday, with 350 employees and visiting dignitaries on hand.

"Thompson Creek is pleased to have been able to construct this mine in British Columbia," said company chairman and CEO Kevin Loughrey. "All of our employees are committed to operate the mine safely and in a responsible manner, so that Mt. Milligan is a valuable asset not only to our

company but also to all of British Columbia. We thank the many people of the province who contributed to our success."

The province's mining minister Bill Bennett was there to offer his congratulations.

"Today is a celebration for the community and also the entire mining industry in B.C. It's an example of how mining creates great-paying jobs and makes communities stronger and more vibrant," he said.

The MLA for the mine's region, Mike Morris, was excited that the new operation "means excellent jobs and careers for people here and new life for our northern communities." Fellow local MLA Shirley Bond, in her capacity as minister for jobs, skills training and labour, added that, "The opening of the Mt. Milligan mine is part of our BC Jobs Plan commitment to having eight new mines in operation and nine more expanded or upgraded by 2015. Most importantly, this mine means well-paying jobs that support northern families and northern communities."

It is the second mine to open under that goal set in 2011. Once it reaches full operational capacity, Mount Milligan is expected to yield approximately 60,000 metric tonnes per day, with average annual production of 81 million pounds of copper and 195,000 ounces of gold during the 22-year mine life.

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