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Avalon Minerals believe still in Viscaria mine
Avalon minerals still want to open the old copper mine northwest of Kiruna. The company's CEO, Malcolm Norris, is optimistic. "Analysts have predicted that copper prices will rise," he says.
Next week a new series of test drilling starts in the Viscaria area northwest of Kiruna. Avalon minerals began to prospect already in 2009 and have since postponed the time of mine opening several times. In 2011, 2013 - which became 2018 later.
"The reason is that we did not do much in the area last year, which has delayed the planning. And the reason we did not do much last year was that the copper price was very low. The copper price is a key factor for whether the mine can develop with profit, says Malcolm Norris.
The company has three processing concessions for the Viscaria area. On the other hand, there is no environmental permit granted by the Land and Environmental Court for the operation. According to Malcolm Norris, we still work with the required documentation.
The CEO of Avalon Minerals is sure about that the copper price controls how the Viscarias project progresses. During late autumn, the price rose from a relatively low level. Now, the curve has already gone down, but Malcolm Norris is optimistic.
"Most analysts who evaluate the global copper industry have predicted that copper prices will rise over the next few years. So forward in 2020, when we hope to open Viscaria, copper prices will be higher than today, he says.
The test drillings that get started soon have two main purposes. You will drill at the edges of already investigated areas where copper has been found. This is to get a more secure picture of the spread of deposits. The second purpose is with the infrastructure in the mining area to do.
"We have not yet decided where the processing plant should be, so some of the drillings we are doing is about ensuring that we do not build the processing plant where there is copper. That would make it harder for us to access it, explains Malcolm Norris.
He estimates investment costs, excluding production costs, to just over SEK 1 billion.
"It's a big investment for us because our company is relatively small. But there is not much money in relation to what else it would cost to develop a mine. It often costs more than one hundred million dollars.
According to Malcolm Norris, funding is not in port.
"If the copper price continues to rise, projects like Viscaria will attract funding. But at this stage it is impossible to say exactly how it will be built, he continues.
Previously, you have estimated that 130 people would be employed in the Viscaria mine.
- There may be even more. There could be as many as 250 people, which of course would be great for Kiruna.