Copper and gold projects progressing in Project News

Latest issue of International Mining Project News available (May 8): With gold prices hovering around the $900 mark and copper prices being as volatile as ever we are still in uncertain economic times. Many analysts see the recent surge in copper prices representing ‘artificial’ Chinese demand; however this hasn’t stopped projects progressing. One big project is Inmet Mining’s Las Cruces project in Spain, which has recently resumed operations after final approval from the Andalucian Regional Ministry of Innovation, Science and Business. Commissioning of the process plant has been completed and with the resumption of mining in the pit, Inmet anticipates that it will produce its first copper cathode during the first week of June. Proven and Probable reserves are 17.6 Mt at an average copper grade of 6.2% and life-of-mine contained copper amounts to 1.1 Mt for a mine life of 15 years at an annual processing capacity of 1.3 Mt.

Combining copper, gold and silver, Barrick Gold is proceeding with construction of its Pascua Lama project (Operation focus in IM’s June issue) on the borders of Argentina and Chile. After governmental discussions with both countries the company should ramp up construction by September. Located in the Frontera district, around 10 km from Barrick’s Veladero mine, the project is at an elevation of 3,800 to 5,200 m and has Proven and Probable reserves of 17.8 Moz of gold, 717.6 Moz of silver, and 649.5 Mlb of copper contained within the gold reserves. It also has an estimated mine life of about 20 years. Pascua-Lama’s pre-production construction estimate is $2.8-$3.0 billion, with expected average annual production of about 750,000-800,000 oz of gold and 35 Moz of silver in the first five years.

Still with Barrick, it has poured the first gold at its Buzwagi mine in Tanzania. This year it is expected to produce some 200,000 oz of gold at total cash costs of $320-$335/oz. In production, the mine will be one of the country’s largest operations. Buzwaqui is the first of Barrick’s new generation mines to enter production. Cortez Hills in Nevada is expected to come into production in the first quarter of 2010 and Pueblo Viejo in the Dominican Republic is targeted for the fourth quarter of 2011. Combined the three projects represent almost 2 Moz of production.

In China, Tianshan Goldfields has the results of column leach tests for its 90% owned Gold Mountain project in northwest China. Test work completed by Chang Chun Gold Research has returned results of 63.22% gold recovery after 120 days leaching. Samples were made up of a blend of each of the Yelmand, Jinxi and Mavituobi deposits at the project. In the Province of Tete in Mozambique, Riversdale Mining and its partner Tata Steel have updated both resources and reserves at the Benga coal project. A coal resource of 4,000 Mt has been estimated with Measured and Indicated resources combined at 1,033.94 Mt. The company has also received approval from the Government of the Republic of Mozambique for the Mining Contract for Benga. The project will involve Riversdale developing a 20 Mt/y (run of mine) hard coking and thermal coal mine with an estimated capital investment of more than $800 million.

This issue also features news from Indonesia, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Ghana, Bolivia and many more countries. To receive the full 30+ page report, subscriptions to this service can be registered and paid for on-line (SUBSCRIBE TO IM PROJECT NEWS BUTTON), or contact [email protected] for a free trial copy.