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Thompson Creek Mine suffers wall slough

Keywords: Tags  wall slough, Thompson Creek, molybdenum, John Tumazos, Thorsten Schier

NEW YORK — Thompson Creek Metals Co. Inc. has suffered a wall slough at its Thompson Creek Mine in Idaho.

"There were no injuries or equipment damage, and management believes that the event will not have a material impact on the current mine plan," the Denver-based company said. It added that "management will continue to evaluate the potential impacts . . . to the company’s 2012 production and cost guidance for the mine."

The company believes the slough was the result of water pressure behind the wall caused by seasonal runoff.

The company did not return a call seeking further details.

John Tumazos, analyst at Holmdel, N.J.-based Very Independent Research LLC, said the event, which displaced about 300,000 tonnes of rock, will likely have a minor impact on the company’s operations. "There may be no loss of revenue but some cost inefficiencies related to the cleanup or trucks, shovels, etc. ‘standing by’ for several days awaiting the cleanup’s completion," he told AMM in an e-mail, adding that stockpiled ore should be able to cover the loss of material.

The molybdenum market is not expected to be affected due to a recent softening in demand. "Our hunch, based on spot prices and world stainless output, is that moly roasters have more finished product than they can sell anyway," Tumazos said.

Thompson Creek—the fourth-largest primary molybdenum mine in the world, according to the company’s website—is expected to produce between 16 million and 17 million pounds of molybdenum this year at an average cash cost of $7.50 to $8.50 per pound.

The mine produced 3.42 million pounds of molybdenum in the first quarter at an average cost of $10.34 per pound due to higher stripping costs associated with ongoing mine pit sequencing.

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