Engineering & Mining Journal

AUG 2018

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66 E&MJ • AUGUST 2018 www.e-mj.com MINING IN PERU 383,200 ounces from the other gold mines it operates, namely Tambomayo, Orcopam- pa, La Zanja and Tantahuatay. Víctor Gobitz, CEO of Buenaventura, an- ticipated higher production figures this year from Tambomayo, which reached commer- cial production last year, and at Coimolache, where the company is processing the oxide stockpiles acquired from neighboring Cerro Corona. He also provided more details about the three-year debottlenecking project at the company's main underground mines: "In Orcopampa, the deeper side of the mine of- fers high grade but we have not developed a shaft, so with the ramp we are extracting less volumes at higher costs, including ad- ditional ventilation costs. In other mines, we are implementing better ventilation or dewa- tering solutions to extend the mine cycles. We also want to move our backfill around as slurry, with pumps, rather than having to use trucks and scoops." Gobitz explained that allocating funds to improve efficiency presents less technical risk and a quicker return on investment than developing a greenfield project. Having said that, Buenaventura also has some precious metals projects in the pipeline, including the San Gabriel gold project and the Yumpaq satellite silver deposit at Uchucchacua. Beyond Newmont and Buenaventura, the other large gold producers include Barrick, that recorded 508,700 ounces between La- gunas Norte and Pierina; Tahoe Resources, that produced 275,000 oz at its La Arena and Shahuindo mines; and Gold Fields, that had production of 166,000 oz of gold at Cerro Corona, a medium-sized mine in Cajamarca that also provides important cop- per volumes (gold equivalent production is 314,000 oz). Stretching mine-life In 2017, Barrick's Lagunas Norte produced 387,000 oz at an all-in sustaining cost (AISC) below US$500/oz, while there is an expected decline to between 230,000 and 270,000 oz this year, related to the depletion of the oxide ores. One of the main developments in 2018 is the building of a dry screener, while the company continues working on the refractory ore project (PMR in Spanish). Lagunas Norte has around 4 million ounces in reserves, most of which is sulphides. According to the company's executive director in Peru, Manuel Fumagalli, a tran- sitional phase for mine-life extension would involve a mill and carbon-in-leach recovery circuit to process the medium-to-high carbo- naceous oxide material in the stockpiles for a total output of 600,000 oz between 2021 and 2026. Then, the PMR project would re- quire a flotation and autoclave process for the sulphides and, if approved, would pro- duce 2.2 million ounces starting in 2026. Meanwhile, Gold Fields has also pushed to add mine-life at its Cerro Corona mine, with a seven-year extension to this opera- tion, now expected to be running until 2030. Luis Rivera, executive vice-president of Gold Fields for the Americas, explained: "Min- ing is like a credit card, it has an expiration date. At the beginning of 2017, Cerro Co- rona was scheduled to shut down in 2023. That meant that, from 2018, we would have Víctor Gobitz, CEO, Buenaventura. Luis Rivera, executive VP Americas, Gold Fields. Manuel Fumagalli, executive director, Barrick Peru.

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