Engineering & Mining Journal

SEP 2018

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REGIONAL NEWS - LATIN AMERICA 14 E&MJ • SEPTEMBER 2018 www.e-mj.com Escondida Signs New Collective Bargaining Agreement On August 17, workers at Minera Escon- dida, controlled by BHP, signed an agree- ment with the company to avoid an im- minent strike, the company announced. In a statement, the company said Union No. 1 informed the company about the approval of the agreement reached in the mediation process. With this ratifica- tion, the company then proceeded to sign a new collective bargaining agreement. The agreement was reached within the framework of a mediation arbitrated by the Chilean directorate of labor. The work- ers initially had asked for a $34,000 bo- nus per worker and a 5% wage increase. The unionized workers said they have managed to keep all their benefits and have been able to move forward on long-delayed issues. They also said the agreement provides security for their current health system and housing plan. Only those workers who are unionized will receive the end-of-strike bonus, as stipu- lated in the new Chilean labor law. Escondida produces almost 1 million metric tons of copper per year, and, to- gether with BHP's Spence and Cerro Col- orado, have increased their overall pro- duction by 44%. Teck Gets Regulatory Approval for QB2 Teck Resources said it has received reg- ulatory approval for its Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 (QB2) project in the Tarapacá Region in northern Chile. The regional En- vironmental Committee of Tarapacá voted to approve the project's Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Receipt of the Environmental Qualification Resolution (RCA) is expected in the coming weeks. "Receiving this regulatory approval is a major step forward in advancing our QB2 project," said Don Lindsay, pres- ident and CEO, Teck. "QB2 will be a high-quality, low-cost, long-life operation with significant expansion potential that will substantially increase Teck's copper production and generate considerable value for many years." With an exceptionally low life-of-mine stripping ratio of 0.5 times, lower in the early years, QB2 is expected to provide 300,000 metric tons (mt) of copper equivalent production per year for the first five years of mine life. The operation has an initially permitted mine life of 25 years using only a quarter of reserves and resources. It is expected to be a tier-one asset in Teck's portfolio, with low all-in sustaining costs and significant potential for further growth. The approval of the EIA is a key step toward a potential construc- tion sanction decision, which could be considered as early as the fourth quarter. The project will be a low-risk operation using proven technologies. The scope of the project also includes the construction of a new 140,000-mt-per-day (mt/d) con- centrator, tailings storage facility, con- centrate pipeline, water supply pipeline, desalination plant, concentrate filtration plant, and port to produce copper and molybdenum concentrates. Teck owns 90% of Compañía Minera Teck Quebrada Blanca S.A. (QBSA). ENA- MI, a Chilean State agency, holds a 10% preference share interest in QBSA, which does not require ENAMI to fund capital spending. Columbus Gold Will Buy Interest in Maripa Project Columbus Gold Corp. has entered into an agreement with IAMGOLD Corp. to ac- quire up to a 70% interest in the Maripa gold project, located in French Guiana, South America. Maripa is comprised of up to five contiguous exploration permits that cover an area of approximately 120 square kilometers. "With mine permitting well under way at the Montagne d'Or gold deposit, the timing was right for this deal on Maripa," said Robert Giustra, chairman of Colum- bus Gold. "This low-cost, high-potential acquisition solidifies Columbus Gold's po- sition as the leading gold exploration and development company in French Guiana. Gold has been mined in the area for more than a century. The past producing Changement mine, located within the Mari- pa project area, recorded gold production of some 40,000 ounces from 1985 to 1996. Past drilling by previous operators be- tween 2002 and 2006 returned the fol- lowing near-surface drill intercepts 36 me- ters of 4.3 grams/metric ton (g/mt) gold; 10.5 meters of 12.4 g/mt gold; 34.5 me- ters of 1.8 g/mt gold; 25.5 meters of 2.5 g/mt gold; 21.5 meters of 2.2 g/mt gold. Columbus Gold said Maripa has the potential to host a significant gold depos- it, and is located in an area of excellent access with national highway RN2 run- ning through most of the project. Magellan Acquires El Dorado Gold-Silver Property in Mexico Magellan Gold Corp. announced it has en- tered into an agreement giving it the right to acquire the El Dorado Gold-Silver Prop- erty, a 50-hectare mining concession locat- ed near the village of Las Minitas, which QB2 will require significant mine and infrastructure development.

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