Client
Utah International, Inc.
Location
Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Utah International Island Copper Complex

The Island Copper mine is located on the northern end of Vancouver Island about seven miles south of Port hardy, in a remote logging and fishing community with a population of 2,000 people.

Fluor built the existing Island Copper complex in 1971. The concentrator has a capacity to process 33,000 tons of ore per day.

Island Copper's six autogenous grinding mills, each 32 feet in diameter and 14 feet in length, comprised the largest totally autogenous grinding circuit in the copper industry at the time. The grinding mills convert the ore into approximately 230,000 tons annually of copper concentrate and 1,800 tons of molybdenum concentrate.

The Client also awarded Fluor the follow-on work for the conceptual engineering and detail design for the extension to the 45,000 tpd copper concentrator building to house a new ball mill.


Copper Mine Processing Plant Engineering and Design
Client's Challenge

Canada's second largest, the copper mine on Vancouver Island, has estimated reserves of 280 million tons of ore averaging 0.52 percent copper and 0.025 percent molybdenum. Reserves are sufficient for about 25 years at the anticipated rate of production. Utah International has long-term contracts to Japanese firms for export.

The Island Copper mill and related mining facilities provide about 400 permanent jobs for the residents of the Port Hardy area.

In concert with the Provincial Government and the University of British Columbia, the Client has established an elaborate environmental control program to protect the ecology of Rupert Inlet and the surrounding waters. The program includes an emergency catch basin capable of storing mine tailings up to six months. Utah International also developed plans for the eventual reclamation of the mine site and waste rock dump areas.


Island Copper Mine Complex Flotation Area Engineering and Design
Fluor's Solution

The copper concentrator was designed and built by Fluor at a cost of $50 million. The concentrator has a capacity to process 33,000 tons of ore per day. The grinding mills convert the ore into approximately 230,000 tons annually of copper concentrate and 1,800 tons of molybdenum concentrate.

Island Copper's six autogenous grinding mills, each 32 feet in diameter and 14 feet in length, comprised the largest totally autogenous grinding circuit in the copper industry at the time.

An autogenous mill separates the mineral from the ore without rods, balls or other grinding media characteristics of conventional mills.

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Island Copper Mine Complex Engineering and Design of Tower and Ball Charging Exteriors
Conclusion

Utah International commenced operation of its Island Copper concentrator near Port Hardy, B.C, in fall 1971, with the mill operating at design capacity at year-end.

The Client also awarded Fluor the follow-on work for the conceptual engineering and detail design for the extension to the 45,000 tpd copper concentrator building to house a new ball mill.