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With responsibility for mining infrastructure, design, and staffing

Christopher Wikman

Christopher, you started as the Head of Mine at the former Copperstone, now Viscaria, in 2023. What brought you to Copperstone?
The job presented an exciting opportunity, and I realized it would be a fun challenge. It’s not every day you get the chance to reopen an old mine, especially in your own hometown. What really attracted me was the idea of being part of this project from the start and being able to contribute to important decisions together with the rest of the team. Viscaria has achieved the remarkable feat of assembling a team with top-notch expertise. This means that even though we have a tough goal ahead of us, we definitely have the right knowledge to successfully reopen the Viscaria mine.

What are your main responsibilities as the Head of Mine?
Right now, it’s all about planning for the various project phases ahead of us. I spend a lot of time supporting the mining engineers on the team and ensuring they have the right conditions to make the best possible design choices. We have many issues to consider, including providing practical advice and input on design, development, rock reinforcement, etc. Viscaria is an important project, and the task list is almost endless. We plan to restart the mine in 2026, which means we need to think about both the next two years of mine preparations and the enormous task of planning for future production. This includes considering the future organization, talking to various suppliers, and ensuring we are prepared for what comes during full production.

What are the key elements of Viscaria’s mine design?
During its previous operation, Viscaria was a mine with both open-pit and underground mining, so we are taking full advantage of the existing infrastructure. The underground mining method will be long hole open stoping with backfill options. Our team has studied the method for a long time and is confident that we have a well-functioning plan ready to be implemented once we get the green light to start the practical work.

The plan is for Copperstone to restart the Viscaria mine in 2026. What does the process look like?
The environmental permit was the most crucial approval for us before we could start preparing the tunnel and the infrastructure for mining operations starting in 2026. After years of inactivity, the mine is full of water, so we need to drain the tunnels and drifts to restore the existing, usable infrastructure. This will be the starting point for the mining team. Another important focus area is the feasibility study, which will ensure a complete foundation for future financing and project planning, finalizing the mine design, and reviewing different equipment and solutions.

What will be the biggest challenges for you in reopening and operating Viscaria? Are you ready for the challenge?
It’s definitely a challenge to have mine design, infrastructure planning, and staffing in place in order to reopen Viscaria in 2026. But the company has a clear plan, and the management has been forward-thinking from the start by hiring top talent and selecting the best partners. Together, we have the experience needed to succeed. We are ready!