Engineering & Mining Journal

DEC 2018

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Page 23 of 115

REGIONAL NEWS - LATIN AMERICA 22 E&MJ • DECEMBER 2018 Los Pelambres Expansion Adds 60,000 MT of Copper Production By Oscar Martinez, Latin American Editor ANTOFAGASTA, CHILE—Antofagasta plc announced the approval of the expansion of its subsidiary Minera Los Pelambres, which is 60% owned by Antofagasta and 40% owned by consortiums led by JX Nippon and Mitsubishi. The expansion will add an average of 60,000 met- ric tons (mt) of copper per year to the mine's production over the first 15 years of operation. "The expansion of our world-class Los Pelambres mine is an important step for- ward in the advancement of the group's organic growth pipeline," Ivan Arriagada, the CEO of Antofagasta plc, said. "The expansion project will add 60,000 mt a year of low-cost copper production at this long-life operation and will ensure that it remains a first-quartile producer for many years to come." The project includes $500 million for the construction of a desalination plant and water pipeline to benefit the existing operation in cases of prolonged or severe drought, and for a potential further phase of expansion, the company said. Construction of this $1.3 billion pro- ject will start at the beginning of 2019 and first production is expected in the sec- ond half of 2021. Throughput at the plant will be increased from the current capacity of 175,000 mt of ore per day to an av- erage of 190,000 mt of ore per day. The plant expansion includes an additional SAG mill, ball mill and the corresponding flotation circuit with 24 additional cells. Annual copper production will in- crease from 40,000 mt in the first year at the expanded throughput to 70,000 mt toward the end of a 15-year period, as the hardness of the ore increases and the benefit of the higher milling capacity is fully realized. A subsequent phase of expansion may follow, dependent on the receipt of the necessary environmental and regulatory approvals, the company said. Capstone Reactivates Santo Domingo Canada's Capstone Mining announced positive results for the Santo Domingo project, a copper, iron and gold deposit that they have been studying for years. The firm, which owns 70% of the mining company — the remaining 30% is owned by Korean company Kores — announced a strategic process to explore several al- ternatives to develop it, including the sale of part of the project. "The technical report updates the economics of the project, which benefits from significantly lower energy costs and several engineering changes, including the use of desalinated water instead of seawater," the company in Canada said. "The report also includes the addition of cobalt to resources minerals." Darren Pylot, president and CEO of Capstone, said in a statement that "there is a shortage of large-scale and high-qual- ity copper projects, and the completion of our updated technical report comes at an ideal time." "Capstone, with the support of Kores, is initiating a strategic process for Santo Domingo that will evaluate alternatives related to ownership of the project, and we will consider the potential of trans- mission opportunities, given that the gold reserve and the cobalt resource help to finance the project," he added. Despite having an environmental permit since 2015, Santo Domingo was slowed down in its development due to the volatility of the price of copper. "We are advancing in engineering and have received three of the five long- lead construction permits, and the rest is expected to be received by 2019," the company said. "We are aiming for Santo Domingo to be ready for construction in early 2020." Leagold Targeting 11-year Mine Life at Santa Luz Leagold Mining has reported the results of an updated feasibility study of the pre- viously operated Santa Luz open-pit gold mine in Bahia state, Brazil. Leagold ac- The haul trucks at Minera Los Pelambres will continue to roll as Antofagasta Minerals embarks on a major expansion program for the operation.

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