Capstone Copper achieves first ore through primary crusher at Mantoverde Development Project

Capstone Copper Corp says that commissioning activities are underway at its Mantoverde Development Project (MVDP) in Chile. The company says it is focused on a safe, efficient and phased project commissioning and ramp-up. MVDP will increase the company’s consolidated copper production by over 40% with a significant decrease in unit operating costs.

John MacKenzie, Capstone’s Chief Executive Officer, commented: “I am pleased to announce that construction of all elements of the project that are required to commence commissioning are complete. The project is on-time and we reaffirm our $870 million total capital cost guidance. This marks an exciting time for Capstone, MVDP is transformational for our business and provides the base for incredible growth in the Mantoverde-Santo Domingo District.”

On November 29, first ore was introduced to the primary crusher. Mantoverde will continue to systematically commission the concentrator plant and is on track to reach nameplate production levels of 32,000 t per day by mid-2024.

Cashel Meagher, Capstone’s President and Chief Operating Officer, commented: “We just completed our hiring process for an experienced workforce of over 130 skilled individuals to run the sulphide operations. Our operating team is working with Ausenco to safely and efficiently ramp-up production.” Capstone’s consolidated production, cost, and capital guidance for 2024 will be released in late January.

The existing Mantoverde project consists of heap and dump run of mine leaching and conventional SX-EW to treat oxide ore that has been producing high-purity LME Grade ‘A’ copper cathodes. The mine consists of four pits situated along the Mantoverde fault, each of which contains both sulphide and oxide ores.

The MVDP is increasing production from approximately 49,000 t of copper (cathodes only – April 1 to December 31, 2022) to a run-rate of approximately 120,000 t of copper in 2024. A new concentrator plant is treating sulphide material to produce copper concentrate while oxide ores will continue to be treated in the existing SX-EW plant. Mining continues to use conventional open pit operations using truck-and-shovel technology.

The MVDP is processing sulphide ores in a concentrator with a capacity of 12.3 Mt/y and the project has been progressed under a lump-sum turn-key engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract with Ausenco.