Tag Archives: Colombia

Anglo set to complete thermal coal exit with Glencore Cerrejón transaction

Anglo American looks set to complete its exit from thermal coal, having agreed to sell its 33.3% interest in the Cerrejón joint venture, in Colombia, to Glencore for around $294 million.

Glencore and BHP currently each also hold a 33.3% interest in Cerrejón, with Glencore intending to acquire both Anglo American’s and BHP’s interests for $588 million in total, thereby assuming full ownership of the asset upon completion.

Cerrejón is one of the largest surface mining operations in the world and mines high-quality thermal coal for the export market. It moves 550 Mt/y by 100% truck and shovel equipment, using more than 300 trucks.

Anglo, earlier in the year, agreed to demerge its thermal coal operations in South Africa to a new holding company called Thungela Resources Limited, with the latest agreement on Cerrejón marking the completion of its thermal coal exposure.

Mark Cutifani, Chief Executive of Anglo American, said: “Today’s agreement marks the last stage of our transition from thermal coal operations. During that transition, we have sought to balance the expectations of our wide range of different stakeholders as we have divested our portfolio of thermal coal operations, in each case choosing the exit option most appropriate for the asset and its distinct local and broader circumstances.”

Both transactions are subject to a number of competition authority and other regulatory approvals, with completing expected in the first half of 2022.

Glencore said on the transactions: “Based on our long-term relationship with Cerrejón and knowledge of the asset, we strongly believe that acquiring full ownership is the right decision and the progressive expiry of the current mining concessions by 2034 is in line with our commitment to a responsible managed decline of our coal portfolio. Production volumes are expected to decline materially from 2030.”

South32’s Cerro Matoso ferronickel operation welcomes electric buses

South32’s Cerro Matoso ferronickel operation in northern Colombia says it is leading the way in eco-friendly transport with the introduction of an electric bus fleet.

Twelve new buses are being used to transport workers between the town of Montelíbano and the operation, with Cerro Matoso working with its bus contractor, Amtur, to phase out its diesel-powered fleet. The electric buses are expected to reduce emissions and noise levels.

The new buses were launched at an event attended by dignitaries including the Colombian Minister of Mines and Energy, Diego Mesa, Vice Minister of Mines, Sandra Sandoval, and the Governor of Córdoba, Orlando Benítez.

Fura Gems’ Coscuez mechanisation shift sees it invest in Resemin, Epiroc equipment

Fura Gems has completed the transition from artisanal to fully mechanised mining at its 76%-owned Coscuez mine, with a new mining fleet now working underground at the Colombia operation.

Following declaration of an NI 43-101 inferred mineral resource at Coscuez last year, which included a 3 Mt total grading 2 ct/t for 6 Mct contained, the company started working on a mechanisation plan.

This mine mechanisation program started in August 2019 and saw three underground declines developed from the main LAPAZ level to intersect the inferred resource body in the Santana, Ayata and the Miguel sectors.

The full program was completed in January 2020 and saw the company acquire modern equipment suitable for narrow vein-mining to increase mining capacity as compared with 2018, it said.

The new mining mechanised fleet includes a total of 12 mini-dumpers, with 4 t and 2 t capacities, one electrohydraulic jumbo drilling machine, three LHDs and three tractors, each of which are currently operational on site.

“With this addition, the Coscuez team has reduced manual drilling and eliminated manual loading and hauling operations,” the company said.

A spokesperson for the company confirmed to IM that the mini-dumpers, jumbo and at least one LHD are from Resemin, while another LHD was from Epiroc.

Another improvement the company introduced in 2019 was the implementation of a new active support system consisting of cement-grouted rock bolts, split sets, wire mesh, and shotcrete layers instead of the traditional passive rock support system based on timber sets.

These improvements helped the company mine a total of 31,963 t during 2019, representing a 109% increase on 2018’s mined total, Fura said.

Furthermore, two international consultants, Bisa and MiningOne, have been retained to complete two technical studies at Coscuez.

The first study is a geotechnical study for rock support and mining methods for different types and rock qualities, while the second study is focused on the design of current and mid-term mine ventilation system.

On top of acquiring mobile mining equipment, Fura, in 2019, installed a new 10 t/h pilot washing plant to help the washing process at Coscuez transition away from manual washing to a much more efficient process.

A new commercial washing plant with projected capacity of 100 t/h is currently being designed and is expected to be commissioned by the December quarter, it added.

TERRATEC helps bring fresh air to Buriticá gold project

TERRATEC has celebrated the successful completion of a 300 m deep, 4.1 m diameter ventilation shaft at the Continental Gold-owned Buriticá gold project, in Colombia.

Peruvian mining contractor INCIMMET deployed a custom-built TR2000 Raise Boring Machine (RBM) to excavate the shaft in what TERRATEC said were challenging ground conditions. This put the machine through its paces during its first bore at the mine, the company said.

Located approximately two hours’ drive northwest of Medellin, Buriticá is a large high-grade gold deposit encompassing an area of about 75,000 ha in Antioquia. The mining complex, which is in the early stages of development, is Colombia’s first modern underground mine and was designated as a Project of National Strategic Interest by the Colombian government, in November 2015. When in production, it is expected to be Colombia’s largest gold mine, producing 253,000 oz/y of gold. First gold is expected by the end of the year, according to Continental.

TERRATEC said: “Arguably the biggest challenge for the mine development project is the area’s geology. Ground conditions at the Buriticá complex largely consist of andesite-porphyry, diorites and monzodiorites with intrusive hydrothermal gaps within the volcanic and sedimentary sequences. These mixed and fractured conditions provided a challenge both to the integrity of the reamer and the capability of this robust machine.”

Mineralised gaps, which are frequently associated with the development and alteration of clay minerals, required constant monitoring of the excavation and appropriate advance rates to provide good progress in this difficult terrain, according to the company.

“Not all raiseboring equipment is capable of working with such robustness in these conditions,” TERRATEC Regional Raiseboring Operations Manager, John Alejos, said. “Without doubt, this changing terrain is almost impossible to drill at such depths and such diameters. Only a team as strong as this, with the technical support of our on-site staff, is able to carry out such a task successfully and not without difficulties.”

Custom manufactured at TERRATEC’s workshop in Tasmania, Australia, the TR2000 RBM was designed for ease of operation and maintenance, while providing a high level of reliability. The unit is designed to “comfortably” execute raises of up to 500 m at 2.4 m diameter and larger ones up to 4.1 m diameter (of shorter depths), according to TERRATEC. It has a maximum pilot drilling torque of 42,000 Nm, a reaming torque of up to 209,000 Nm and breakout to 236,000 Nm. The maximum down thrust force is 665 kN with upthrust being 4,150 kN. The total installed power on the machine is 360 kW.

TERRATEC has numerous machines currently working in the Americas in Canada, USA, Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Argentina. These include the company’s entire range of vertical mining drilling equipment, including RBMs, Down-Reaming Machines and Box Holing Rigs, as well as a combination of these in the form of Universal Boring Machines.

Continental Gold keeps Buriticá project on track for debut pour in H1 2020

The latest update from Continental Gold on its Buriticá project in north-western Antioquia, Colombia, indicates the company is on track to pour gold in the first half of 2020.

The company said overall construction was 44% complete, with detailed engineering over 93% advanced.

At the same time, underground development was tracking ahead of plan at 44% completion, with 6,274 m finished to date. Process plant earthworks were 76% finished and mechanical installation was scheduled to begin in early 2019, the company said, while powerline installation was advancing rapidly and set for completion early in the September quarter.

This all bodes well for commercial production ramp-up of Buriticá taking place six months after the first gold pour.

Since completing the feasibility study for the Buriticá project in 2016, the company has been optimising the mine design and rescheduling development. This work has resulted in a reduction in total pre-production lateral development (horizontal and inclined jumbo development) from 19 km in the feasibility study to 14.3 km in the current mine plan, a reduction of approximately 25%.

In terms of underground development, monthly advance rates have consistently exceeded planned development this year. Crews continue advancing daily at the Yaraguá and Veta Sur ramps and the Higabra tunnel and upper and lower drifts connecting the Yaraguá and Veta Sur vein areas are advancing well. Additionally, definition drilling continues to provide information required for stope design and mine production scheduling.

Drill chambers continue to be extracted proximal to planned stoping areas as development advances; monthly definition drilling has been and will continue to increase through the balance of the year and into 2019 as development accesses additional drilling areas, the company said.

The feasibility study for the Buriticá project highlighted the potential to host an economically robust, high-grade underground gold mine, which includes a mineral reserve for the combined Yaraguá and Veta Sur vein systems totalling 3.7 Moz of gold and 10.7 Moz of silver at grades of 8.4 g/t Au and 24.3 g/t Ag. When in production, it would be Colombia’s largest gold mine, producing 253,000 oz/y of the yellow metal.