Maurice Jackson: Joining us for a conversation is David Swisher, the senior vice president of operations for Nevada Copper Corp. (NCU:TSX; NEVDF:OTC). We're delighted to speak with you on this historic day, as Nevada Copper has just accomplished a watershed moment that now puts the company in an elite category. Without further ado, Mr. Swisher, on the behalf of Nevada Copper and its shareholders, what would you like to share with the market?
David Swisher: Nevada Copper is exceptionally excited about this milestone. It has been a tremendous effort by our team and by our contractors to get us to a production state in such a short amount of time. That is unprecedented in itself. And our focus now is not just enjoying this accomplishment, but looking forward. And in looking forward, we have to ramp up our production status, which we plan to do in the first half of next year.
We're excited because we do have a very strong organic growth with 65 million pounds of annual copper equivalent production. We're very excited about the next stage of our development, moving out of development into production on the underground, focusing on the open pit, and then looking at our entire copper district and the large land package that we currently have. So a lot of exciting times for us ahead. This was obviously a very big milestone for Nevada Copper, and we're very proud of that.
Maurice Jackson: Throughout the past two years we've had the pleasure of sharing the value preposition of Nevada Copper and we've held their feet to the fire on their deliverables and time schedules. And to the marketís satisfaction, Nevada Copper has met and or exceeded the expectations consistently. From a macro perspective, how is the U.S. copper industry impacted with the commencement of production of the Pumpkin Hollow?
David Swisher: I think to help answer that question, we have to look at the fact that we are now the first new source of U.S. copper production in over a decade. I think we're very stable being in the U.S. and also the jurisdiction in Nevada, and that lends comfort to our stake holders with regards to stable delivery of a product. That is a stark contrast from other copper producers that have labor disputes or civil unrest, or even tax changes within various regimes, whether it's Chile, Peru, or the Democratic Republic of Congo. So we're very comfortable and we're, again, very excited that we are this new copper production source, [the first] in such a long time here, in a stable country.
Maurice Jackson: But the value proposition is even more compelling for investors when one considers the business and geological acumen of Nevada Copper. Mr. Swisher, how many pounds of copper does the Pumpkin Hollow project contain?
David Swisher: That's a very good question. It's broken into a couple of parts. The first part is our underground operation, which we're currently in production. And we have a resource of 1.5 billion pounds of copper contained. We also have a very large Inferred resource that has yet to be exploited, so that's a very exciting and interesting prospect in and among itself.
However, on our land holdings, very, very close to the underground operation, we also have an open pit. And that open pit has over 5 billion pounds of contained copper with, again, a very large Inferred resource. So it bodes itself well for a very large value proposition for stakeholders and investors anywhere.
Maurice Jackson: Having a project that hosts billions of pounds of copper is an eye-opener, but equally important is having customers to buy the copper Nevada Copper is extracting to generate revenue. What can you share with us regarding offtake agreements?
David Swisher: We have two major offtake agreements. I think what's really important is that 100% of our production from the underground is committed to offtake agreements. And one of those companies is Concord Resources Ltd. They have almost 75% of that offtake and Transamine Trading is another partner offtaker who has the other 25%. And that gives comfort and security to the operation, in that we don't have to worry about where the concentrate goes after we deliver to our offtake partners.
Maurice Jackson: What are the highlights of the now producing underground project?
David Swisher: Well, there are several, one of those being [our] mining methods [lend themselves to] a low operating-cost environment. We have a long life as an underground operation of 13.5 years. However, that is really not exploiting the rest of the Inferred resource, which we know is quite large and contains up to 635 million pounds of resources. So that's an exciting component and highlight.
We also have very strong environmental and social stewardship in our local area. We have great relationships with our communities. And, of course, being in Nevada, we're also ranked number one in terms of low-risk jurisdiction. That helps quite a lot.
We also have a very good advantage over other operations in the fact that we are not producing a tailings (deposit). We are actually dry-stacking all of our tailings just like you would in normal waste dumps, so we have very little environmental exposure there. We also are recycling all of our water for use in our process facility and also infiltrating, so we're a zero discharge facility as well, which is not common in the mining industry.
And I think probably really a big highlight of this is the fact that we're a first mover in this district. And it is a well-known copper-producing district. And the fact that we have such a large land package and we have so much opportunity outside of the underground operations, it certainly lends itself to very exciting times in our future.
Maurice Jackson: Now that Nevada Copper is in production, what does this news mean for the company?
David Swisher: Well, I think it's a game changer for us. And as I've mentioned, [because] we are now producing, now we can start cash-flowing, now we can start looking strategically at putting that money to work for us, for growth. And that growth comes in the form of our open pit operations. It comes in the form of continuing exploration of our land package, which is showing and proving to be very interesting.
And so we're really excited about that future. First and foremost, we have to continue ramping up our existing operation, but this certainly is a major milestone. And again, we're extremely proud of that and we're very, very happy to move forward with our team, and with our contractors, and with our community.
Maurice Jackson: What are the next steps for Nevada Copper?
David Swisher: As mentioned before, it's really looking at how we continue that organic growth profile. We really think that the open pit is going to provide a lot of opportunities for us. We're currently working on a feasibility study right now and we expect to have that completed by the end of next year. This large land package we have in this already producing copper district lends itself to the discovery of a lot of other opportunities for us, which we're just touching the surface on with regards to exploration potential. So there is a tremendous amount of opportunity that Nevada Copper has reaching this milestone of production. First production in a decade is really exciting and it really just helps pave the way for our organic growth strategy.
Maurice Jackson: In closing, Mr. Swisher, last question, what did I forget to ask?
David Swisher: I don't know, Maurice, if you forgot to ask anything. I just would like to say that Nevada Copper is not a typical company. We are a company that's built around its people. We value our people, we value our community, we value the environment, our regulators. We are not a company that is going to have issue with anybody. We are going to collaborate and communicate and we're going to care about how we go about our business. And I think that's really reflective in our CEO, Matt Gili, and the team that he has developed here. We're all in support of Matt, and that objective to create a very positive environment, because that positive environment just garners innovative thinking, and it will only serve to support our growth strategy.
Maurice Jackson: David, if investors want to get more information about Nevada Copper, please share the website address.
David Swisher: Our website address is nevadacopper.com.
Maurice Jackson: For our audience members, we wish to remind you that Nevada Copper trades on the TSX: NCU | OTC: NEVDF. For additional inquiries, contact Richard Matthews at (877) 648-8266 or you may email [email protected] Nevada Copper's a sponsor and we are proud shareholders for the virtues conveyed in today's message.
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David Swisher of Nevada Copper, thank you for joining us today on Proven and Probable.
Maurice Jackson is the founder of Proven and Probable, a site that aims to enrich its subscribers through education in precious metals and junior mining companies that will enrich the world.[NLINSERT]
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