Engineering & Mining Journal

JUN 2019

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 20 E&MJ • JUNE 2019 Barrick Will Invest $1B in Pueblo Viejo Barrick Gold proposed an investment of more than $1 billion for Pueblo Viejo gold mine in the Dominican Republic. Already one of the world's Tier 1 gold mines, the plan is to expand the mine's processing plant and tailings capacity. The investment could potentially extend the life of the mine into the 2030s and beyond. Barrick said it expects to com- plete a feasibility study for the expan- sion project during 2020. Barrick Gold President and CEO Mark Bristow said the proposed in- vestment was further evidence of the joint-venture partners' long-term com- mitment to the social and economic de- velopment of the Dominican Republic. "We look forward to continue making a significant and growing contribution to our communities and other stakeholders and to unlocking the enormous value of its mineral potential while addressing the historical third-party environmental issues," he said. Barrick manages the mine, which is a joint venture with Newmont Goldcorp. Bristow noted that the joint-venture partners had already invested $5.2 bil- lion in Pueblo Viejo, which represents almost 20% of the total foreign direct investment in the Dominican Republic over the past 10 years. Direct cash tax- es paid by the mine amounted to $1.6 billion, which represents 57% of the cash distributions compared to 43% earned by the joint-venture partners. Since 2013, the mine has accounted for 30% of the country's exports, and generated a net added value of $5.7 bil- lion and a total net added value of $8.5 billion, equal to 2% of the Dominican gross domestic product. "Some 96% of the mine's employ- ees are Dominicans and this has also had a significant impact on the lives of the more than 90,000 people in neigh- boring communities who have bene- fited from its community upliftment programs," Bristow said. "It has also promoted the development of the local economy, spending more than $123 million with local contractors and sup- pliers over the past six years." SolGold PEA Sees Long-life Underground Mine for Alpala SolGold has reported the results of a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) of the Alpala copper-gold-silver deposit on its Cascabel project in northern Ec- uador. The study considers four under- ground mining scenarios, each based on block caving. Mine life, depending on annual tonnages mined, could range from 49 to 66 years. Resources considered in the block cave designs total 2.4 billion metric tons (mt) at a copper equivalent grade of 0.54% (0.36% copper, 0.27 grams/ mt gold, and 1.1 g/mt silver). Based on a 50-million-mt-per-year (mt/y) mining scenario, average annu- al production of metal in concentrates for the first 25 years is estimated at 207,000 mt of copper, 438,000 ounc- es (oz) of gold, and 1.4 million oz of sil- ver. Life-of-mine production under the same scenario is estimated at 150,000 mt/y of copper, 245,000 oz/y of gold, and 913,000 oz/y of silver. Life-of-mine average grades of met- al in concentrate are estimated at 26% copper, 13.2 g/mt gold, and 49.2 g/ mt silver. Average figures over the first 15 years of the operation are estimat- ed at 28.2% copper, 22.1 g/mt gold, and 65.7 g/mt silver. The relatively high valuable metal content and low dele- terious elements such as arsenic in the concentrate are expected to attract pre- mium sales values and keep treatment and refining charges low. Pre-production capital expenditures to develop a mine on the Alpala depos- it are estimated at $2.4 billion to $2.8 billion, depending on the production rate scenario. Payback periods are esti- mated at 3.5 to 3.8 years. Project activities for the remainder of 2019 will focus on continued explo- ration at Alpala, a further update to the mineral resource estimate, metallurgy and process design, and tailing dispos- al options. A prefeasibility study is planned for completion in December, to be followed by a definitive feasibility study sched- uled for completion at the end of 2020. Commenting on the findings of the Alpala PEA, SolGold CEO Nick Mather said, "The SolGold Board is excited by Already one of the world's Tier 1 gold mines, the plan is to expand Pueblo Viejo's processing plant (above) and tailings capacity.

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