Corriente has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Metso Brasil Industria e Comercio Ltda. to supply the major components of the processing facility at the Mirador copper-gold project in Ecuador. The LOI quotes an equipment package totaling over $27 million, which includes a crusher, SAG mill and ball mill. Signing of this critical LOI allows Corriente to stay on its path to complete construction of the Mirador project in late 2008 with commissioning by the end of the year.
Ken Shannon, CEO of Corriente: "The availability of key mill components is one of the major bottlenecks facing new mine developments around the world. We are pleased to be able to reach reasonable economic terms with Metso and at the same time to be assured the equipment will be delivered to meet the scheduled mine start-up at the end of 2008."
Corriente, a copper-gold development company, is moving towards construction of a starter operation at its Mirador copper-gold operation. Corriente has completed an Environmental Impact Assessment for initial operations at Mirador and in May 2006 completed a major equity financing for the project. Corriente says “Mirador is one of the few new, sizeable copper projects available for near-term production” and it controls a 100% interest in over 60,000 ha located within the Corriente Copper Belt, Ecuador. So far three copper and copper-gold porphyry deposits have been discovered on the Belt: Mirador, Panantza and San Carlos, as well as the Mirador Norte prospect currently under development. Additional exploration activities are ongoing, as six additional exploration targets have been identified to date.
Mirador has a completed feasibility study on a starter operation with a measured and indicated resource model of 346,968,000 t at an average grade of 0.62% Cu, 0.2 g/t Au and 1.6 g/t Ag (at an average cut off of 0.37% Cu). The project is forecast to annually produce some 60,000 t of copper, 32,000 oz of gold and 398,000 oz of silver during the first five years of production. The mine model indicates a 38 year mine life at a throughput of 25,000 t/d. The capital cost for the project is estimated at $195 million.
As an indication of the growth potential of the project, Corriente has prepared an internal cash flow projection for an overall mine plan that allows for an expansion to a capacity of 50,000 t/d with construction underway in year five. This expansion would require a twinning of the concentrator and use the same infrastructure layout and the same pit model and geological resources as in the starter project feasibility study. The capital cost of the expansion is estimated to be about $100 million. www.corriente.com