Engineering & Mining Journal

JUL 2018

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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REGIONAL NEWS - LATIN AMERICA 14 E&MJ • JULY 2018 BHP, Vale Strike Deal to Suspend Samarco Lawsuit BHP Billiton and its partner Vale have reached an agreement with the Brazilian government to dismiss the BRL20 billion ($5.2 billion) civil claim against the com- panies related to the tailings dam failure at Samarco in Minas Gerais in November 2015 that left 19 people dead and com- munities devastated. The agreement also suspends the BRL155 billion ($41.5 billion) civil claim that was brought forth by the federal gov- ernment in May 2016 for two years. According to BHP, during this two-year period, the parties will work together to design a single process for the renegoti- ation of remediation and compensation programs and progress settlement of the BRL155 billion civil claim. During the renegotiation period and un- til revisions are agreed upon, the Renova Foundation will continue to implement the programs. A revised governance structure, based on the framework agreement, has also been agreed upon to enhance commu- nity participation in the process, BHP said. owned by BHP Billiton Brasil Ltda and Vale S.A. Operations were shut down following the disaster and Samarco said it does not know when operations will resume. Sierra Studying Expansion at Cusi Silver Mine Sierra Metals has reported the results of a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) of a major expansion of production at its Cusi silver mine in Chihuahua state, Mexico. The PEA supports expansion from a current mine operating rate of 650 metric tons per day (mt/d) to 1,200 mt/d by the first quar- ter of 2019 and 2,700 mt/d by mid-2021. Silver production would total 30 million ounces (oz) over a mine life of nine years based on existing mineral resources. Life-of-mine capital costs of the expan- sion program are estimated at $104 million. Sierra Metals is pursuing ongoing explo- ration programs and expects to continue to grow the mineral resources at the Cusi mine. Mechanized bench-and-fill mining will be introduced to achieve sustainable mine production of 2,700 mt/d. Improved pro- ductivity will be accompanied by improved safety, as the requirement for man-time spent in stopes will be significantly reduced. Head-grades are expected to reduce from the current 201 g/mt silver to 161 g/mt at 1,200 mt/d and 145 g/mt at 2,700 mt/d. Cusi mine production is processed at Sierra Metals' Mal Paso plant, approxi- mately 44 km from the mine. The plant is based on a conventional crushing-mill- ing-flotation circuit that produces com- mercial quality lead/silver and zinc con - centrates. Mineral is delivered from the Cusi mine to the plant in 20-mt trucks. In line with proposed increases in mine output, processing capacity at Mal Paso will be increased to 1,200 mt/d in 2019, and a new plant with a capacity of 1,500 mt/d is proposed for construction at Cusihuariachi to come online mid-2021, bringing total capacity to 2,700 mt/d. The proposed plant at Cusihuariachi is significantly closer to the Cusi mine than the Mal Paso plant, and the shorter haul distance is expected to trans- late into an operational savings of $4/mt. The Cusi property is located 135 km southwest of Chihuahua. Epithermal min- eralization has been mined in the area since its discovery in the early 1800s. Eight mineralized zones are recog- nized at the property. The zones are up to 10 m across and include silicified faults, veins and breccias. Veins typically range between 0.5 and 2 m wide, dip steeply, extend 100 to 200 m along strike, and extend up to 400 m depth. Mitsubishi Increases Stake in Quellaveco Anglo American has agreed to Mitsubishi Corp.'s proposed $600 million acquisi- tion of a 21.9% equity interest in Anglo American Quellaveco S.A., which owns the Quellaveco copper project in Peru. Mitsubishi already holds an 18.1% inter- est in the project and, following closing of this transaction, Mitsubishi's interest will increase to 40%. Anglo will retain 60%. Mistubishi will pay $500 million upon closing, $50 million upon total ore treat- ment rates at Quellaveco reaching at least 150,000 metric tons per day (mt/d); and $50 million upon total ore treatment rates at Quellaveco reaching at least 180,000 mt/d. The total consideration values Quel- laveco at $2.74 billion. "The successful syndication of a 21.9% interest in Quellaveco confirms the world- class quality of our copper asset in Peru and aligns with our disciplined approach to how we allocate capital," said Mark Cutifani, CEO of Anglo American. "We are pleased to be able to extend our longstanding partner- ship with Mitsubishi and look forward to its ongoing contribution and strong support." The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018 and is subject to required regulatory approvals, approv- al by Mitsubishi's board, and approval to develop the Quellaveco project by Anglo American's board. A 3D model shows the mineralized ore bodies at the Cusi mine in Mexico.

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