Engineering & Mining Journal

NOV 2018

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REGIONAL NEWS - LATIN AMERICA 16 E&MJ • NOVEMBER 2018 www.e-mj.com Hudbay Considers Mantos Copper By Oscar Martinez, Latin American Editor Hudbay Minerals Inc. is in conversations to buy Mantos Copper SA, a Chilean mining company linked to former Anglo American executives, which is looking for a buyer to finance its expansion plans, ac- cording to those familiar with the matter. Mantos could get up to US$780 million in a sale, according to two people who are familiar with the situation and asked not to be named. While the talks are moving forward, they may still fail or other suppli- ers may emerge, they said. Mantos Copper, backed by Audley Cap- ital Advisors and Orion Mine Finance, has been looking for a buyer for all or part of its business to raise US$1 billion to mine for copper and gold at two of its mines in the country, north of Chile. The company, based in the coastal city of Antofagasta, is working with the Bank of Nova Scotia to evaluate the full range of strategic alterna- tives, according to a statement in May. Mantos has said its Mantoverde mine will require an investment of US$780 mil- lion and will produce an average of 106,000 metric tons of copper and 33,000 ounces of gold per year. The expansion of Mantos Blancos will extend the life of the mine un- til 2035 and will require a capital injection of US$210 million, the company said. Spence Expansion Was Officially Inaugurated The week of October 18, the Chilean Min- ister of Economy José Ramón Valente visit- ed the Spence mine to officially inaugurate the recently announced expansion, which will create more than 3,000 jobs during construction. The nearly $2.5 billion initia- tive, which was supported by the Chilean Ministry of Economy's Office of Sustain- able Projects (known as GPS) will support 220 jobs when it is in operation. "This is in line with the government's goal of reac- tivating investment to boost the country's economy," Ramón said. "We are promot- ing investment projects that will generate more employment in the country." Additionally, the expansion of Minera Spence contemplates a $570 million de- salination plant that also has the support of GPS. The expansion will extend the op- eration of the mine for 50 years, through the processing of the primary sulfide re- serves from the current mining plan. This will be done through conventional flotation to produce copper concentrate and molyb- denum with the plant processing a rate of around 95,000 metric tons per day. Currently, the GPS is working with BHP Billiton, which owns Spence, on the envi- ronmental impact study for the Cerro Col- orado project and the Monturaqui project, which is intended to supply water to Min- era Escondida, as well as the authorization for new ongoing exploration activities. Nexa Approves Aripuan Project This week, the board of directors from Nexa Resources S.A. has approved the construc- tion of the Aripuan project, an underground polymetallic mine and concentrate pro- cessing facility in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil. The average zinc equivalent produc- tion at the Aripuan project is estimated at 120,000 metric tons per year (mt/y) for 13 years. The Aripuan project is expected to be operational by the beginning of 2021, with total investment estimated at approx- imately US$392 million. Nexa Resources owns a 70% stake in the Aripuan project through its subsidiaries. The site is located in the northwest of the state of Mato Grosso, 1,265 kilometers by road from Rondon polis, an additional 1,264 kilometers by railroad and road to the Tres Marias smelter or 1,566 km to the Juiz de Fora smelter, or an additional 1,395 kilometers by railroad from Rondon- polis to the port of Santos. Zinc produced at Aripuan that may not undergo process- ing at the company's smelters in Brazil will be exported through the port of Santos. Freeport Earning Into Ricardo Project in Chile Minera Ricardo Resources, a whol- ly-owned subsidiary of Solaris Copper, has entered into a definitive earn-in op- tion agreement with Minera Freeport-Mc- MoRan South America with respect to the Ricardo copper-molybdenum project in Chile. The agreement details a three- stage process whereby Freeport can earn up to an 80% interest in the Ricardo property for gross expenditures of $130 million or $30 million plus the delivery of a feasibility study for a mine. The Ricardo property consists of approx- imately 14,000 ha strategically located along the West Fissure fault approximate- ly 25 kilometers (km) south of Codelco's Chuquicamata mine. The West Fissure fault is highly prospective and hosts numerous other large porphyry copper deposits. "Exploration at the prospective Ricar- do property will be significantly enhanced by the technical and financial capacity of Freeport," Solaris CEO Greg Smith said. "We are very pleased to partner with Free- port in advancing the Ricardo property as we focus on our flagship Warintza project in Ecuador." The Warintza porphyry copper-molyb- denum project in southeast Ecuador en- compasses 22,676 ha and currently hosts an inferred resource of 1.8 billion lb of copper. The limits of known mineralization have not been defined. Drilling to date to- tals 6,500 m in 33 holes and has tested only a small portion of the property. Great Panther Acquiring Beadell, Tucano Gold Mine in Brazil Great Panther Silver is acquiring Beadell Resources and its 100% owned Tucano Mantos Copper owns and operates two mines in northern Chile, Mantos Blancos and Mantoverde (above).

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