Learn our copper mining process from development to delivery

Being a northern mining company isn’t always easy, but our safe and environmentally-focused process ensures our partner and customer always receives a high-quality, sustainably sourced product.

FROM THE FROZEN NORTH ACROSS THE SEA

It all starts at the Minto mine in the Yukon

Copper/gold concentrate produced at the Minto mine is loaded onto trucks headed for Alaska. En route, the concentrate trucks must cross the Yukon River by barge or ice bridge.

Our first stop is Skagway, Alaska

When the concentrate arrives at the Skagway Ore Terminal, it’s stored until there is a sufficient load to be shipped to Japan.

Final destination? Port of Niihama, Japan

The product reaches its final destination, a smelter and refinery at the Port of Niihama, Japan, and is delivered to our partner and customer, Sumitomo Corporation.

Transportation and logistics

During the spring and fall, when the river is not high enough for the barge to operate, the only means in and out of the mine site is by chartered plane. Therefore, the concentrate must be stored at Minto until the shoulder season is over. Given the potential for logistical challenges, Minto has an agreement with Sumitomo Corporation. This agreement creates a long-term relationship for the purchase of Minto’s concentrate.

How we operate

The Minto mine commenced Yukon mining operations in 2007 as an open pit mine. In 2012 the company began underground development on the Minto South Deposits while continuing to mine additional open pits as the primary mining method. Today, the mining is entirely underground, and we are currently producing in the Copper Keel ore body.

We’re exploring new opportunities in the Minto Copper Belt

The Minto mine sits within the Minto Copper Belt, a 42-kilometer-long northwest-trending corridor of copper-gold-silver mineralization in central Yukon. The copper mineralization found to date is hosted by migmatites (metamorphic rocks that have undergone high degrees of partial melting) in distinctive, flat-lying, structurally controlled orebodies open at depth and along strike Minto Metals is deploying state-of-the-art, innovative and disruptive technologies in the pursuit of not only additional orebodies at the mine site, but on their extensive land package in the Minto Copper Belt.  We have engaged with Goldspot Discoveries Corp. and are working together utilizing proprietary machine learning workflows on re-processed and interpreted geological data to unlock the true mineral wealth of the Belt.  We are excited about this potential and are employing a multi-year, systematic discovery plan testing these new targets in a respectful, environmentally conscious and sustainable manner.

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Our underground mining methods are safe and efficient

Minto performs underground mining using a long hole mining method. The long hole stopes are retreated from an extraction development drive with rib pillars left between stope lines for ground stability. Ore is extracted from the mine with 45-tonne haul trucks utilizing a 15% ramp to surface. The underground operations are currently producing 3,000 tonnes of ore out of our main mining area which is the Copper Keel mining zone.

“Milling versatility and dependability”

The mill is well positioned to accept the challenges of a variable feed rate, with capacities capable of reaching 4,000 tpd throughput and higher. The milling operation has successfully transitioned to a greater than 90% availability and has shown itself to be another success story, moving into the upper levels of concentrate production with dependability. Mill production has focused on cost reductions while maintaining high quality levels of recovery and grade which contributes to making the Minto mine operations unique.

Health and safety are always on our mind

Minto Metals maintains the Health and Safety of the people involved in activities at the mine as the primary value entrenched into everything we do. We strive for “Safe Production” by ensuring people clearly understand that no one is expected to work in substandard conditions, with substandard tools or put them self at risk in any way performing their duties at the Minto Mine.

We maintain a Target: ZERO philosophy that believes all incidents are preventable and that every effort must be made to eliminate significant accidents and reduce minor incidents toward ZERO.

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Want more insight into how we operate or deliver our product? We’d love to tell you more.

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