Tag Archives: Ecuador

IMARC 2023 organisers preparing for ‘grand slam’ event

The world’s mining and resource leaders are heading to Sydney, New South Wales, for the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) from October 31 – November 2 in what has become a “grand slam” event of the industry, globally, event organisers says.

IMARC Chief Operating Officer, Anita Richards, said this year’s event was looking to be the largest ever, with over 520 speakers from global giants such as BHP, Fortescue, MMG, Gold Fields, Wesfarmers, Worley, Perenti, IGO, the US Departments of Energy and Defense and the ICMM, coming together to collaborate on themes including digital transformation and innovation; sustainability, social value, environmental resilience, people and culture; trade, investment and project opportunities; and energy transition.

She said: “The mining and resources industry is evolving rapidly to meet the growing energy demands of today while developing the minerals needed for a decarbonised economy – under unprecedented scrutiny from communities, regulators and investors.

IMARC 2023 comes at a time when explorers and miners are diversifying portfolios to align with future demand, triggering the highest level of M&A activity across both mining and METS we have ever seen.”

This year’s conference will see the return of the IMARC NextGen Program, which will provide an opportunity for 200 NSW school children to learn about the diverse and exciting mining and resources industry.

IMARC 2023 also features:

  • A special ESG focus on creating social value;
  • An extensive look at First Nations engagement, human rights and transparency;
  • A look at best-practice mine rehabilitation;
  • A global perspectives on heritage and environmental custodianship and economic development;
  • A return of the successful Balance for Better Program which promotes equality, diversity and inclusion across all areas of the mining and resources sector.

Richards added: “Mining and resources have never been more important for sustainable economic, social and innovative development across the globe. We need more exploration and development to match surging demand for the critical minerals that are central to the global energy transition. IMARC 2023 is where the most important conversations are being held about how mining and resources can help achieve global development sustainably and equitably.

“IMARC is a key forum to address these challenges, and the global profile of the event is reflected in delegations already confirmed from India, Saudi Arabia, Ecuador, Chile, Mongolia, United States, South Korea, Japan, Germany and many more.”

At IMARC 2023 a range of new features have been added to the program. These include the Low Emission Technology Australia session to help accelerate innovation in the clean technology sector, the 4,000 sq.m IMARC Mining Pavilion with over 150 exhibitors present and the final of the Unearthed Global Innovation Games where the winners will be announced and their technology displayed.

IMARC 2023 will take place at the ICC Sydney from October 31 to November 2 and will be a celebration of what has grown into one of Australia’s biggest business events, with a record 8,500 delegates from over 120 countries, including upwards of 50 government delegations expected to attend, organisers say.

International Mining is a media sponsor of IMARC 2023 and will be in Sydney reporting on the event.

STRACON and RIPCONCIV look to collaborate on Curipamba-El Domo copper-gold mine build

Adventus Mining Corporation and Salazar Resources Limited have signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) for the award of a mining and construction contract to a joint venture between STRACON S.A., an established Peruvian mining contractor with operations throughout Latin America, and RIPCONCIV, a large and respected Ecuadorian infrastructure construction contractor, related to development of the Curipamba-El Domo copper-gold project in central Ecuador.

The LOI allows the parties to immediately commence activities relating to local community-targeted training and employment, constructability reviews, logistics studies and execution planning – all of which are value-add activities directly supporting Adventus and Salazar’s plan to formally commence construction of the project in the June quarter of 2023.

A definitive agreement is expected to be executed in the December quarter of 2022, which will be structured in an alliance-partnership model to ensure focus on the best solutions for the project while ensuring that risks are allocated to the parties best equipped to manage and mitigate. The STRACON-RIPCONCIV JV will be responsible for the successful construction of the open pit, tailings facilities, and associated mine infrastructure as well as the first two years of mine operation.

In 2021, Adventus and Salazar released an open-pit mine feasibility study and updated preliminary economic assessment on a separate underground mine option for the project. This outlined a 10-year open-pit operation producing, on average, 21,390 t/y of copper-equivalent over the 10-year life-of-mine, alongside 20,000 t/y of copper-equivalent payable output from years 11-14 from the underground.

On site, focus has been on drilling to support the detailed engineering program and the implementation of health, safety, security and environmental management plans in anticipation of formal construction commencement in the June quarter of 2023.

Work continues to advance on site with an ongoing pre-construction program involving activities such as geotechnical and hydrogeological drilling, camp installation, IT, infrastructure, logistics planning, community hiring, public and private security provisions, water management and electrical power systems.

A contract for the detailed engineering and design of the tailings storage facility (TSF), waste rock facilities (WRF) and associated infrastructure was recently awarded to engineering firm Klohn Crippen Berger (KCB). Design work has commenced and is expected to be completed in the March quarter of 2023, prior to the start of construction.

In June 2022, KCB completed a study to optimise the use of waste rock during the pre-strip period for use as construction material. This work resulted in an anticipated overall reduction of pre-strip volume of approximately 3 Mt of waste, which is expected to reduce construction costs and provide more schedule flexibility during the pre-production period of project development. An updated mine plan based on the reduced pre-strip quantities is expected to be completedthis month, which will then be used by the STRACON-RIPCONCIV JV to finalise fleet selection and manpower planning.

Engineering for the project process plant and surface infrastructure is now well underway by engineering firm DRA Global, the lead detailed engineering consultant for the project. Work is on schedule and currently focused on the negotiation and award of long lead equipment packages from mining equipment vendors, with a 30% progress milestone review planned for late September 2022.

Following the successful receipt of ESIA technical approval from the Government of Ecuador in May 2022, Adventus and Salazar are continuing to plan for the public consultation process. The Government of Ecuador is in the process of redefining the requirements for this consultation process and the President of Ecuador is expected to enact a corresponding decree in 2022.

The final control capital budget for the project is expected to be announced in the June quarter of 2023. To date, the companies have seen some reductions in projected capital costs such as from improvements in the TSF design, which are tending to offset cost pressures associated with inflation and global geopolitical instability.

At a project level, the Curipamba-El Domo copper-gold asset is owned 75% by Adventus and 25% by Salazar.

BQE Water to manage and treat water at El Mirador copper-gold mine

BQE Water has signed two agreements with EcuaCorriente SA (ECSA), an Ecuador subsidiary of a Chinese consortium, to prepare an adaptive mine water management plan and to improve the design of an existing water treatment plant for the El Mirador mine the consortium owns and operates in south-eastern Ecuador.

The first contract is for an assessment of the water treatment plant and a water management plan that is adaptive over the life of the mine based on water flow and quality that will be monitored as part of the plan.

Added to this is a second contract to provide technical support for implementing immediate improvements in the engineering design and operation of the existing water treatment facility to increase its robustness and reduce both project risks and long-term operating costs, BQE said.

Qiaofeng Xu, the Project Director for ECSA, said: “We selected BQE Water for their unique technical expertise, their successful track record in the design and operation of large water treatment plants for major Chinese mining producers, and for their ability to support project execution utilising personnel from their South American, China and Canadian offices.”

Songlin Ye, Vice President for Asia at BQE Water, said: “Our ability to do business with large Chinese metal producers and the success of our water treatment operations in China were instrumental in securing these new contracts. The El Mirador project is significant for BQE Water as it showcases our unique strength to be a trusted water services provider for mining projects with Chinese interests at a time when Chinese investment in global mining projects can be expected to grow.”

Oscar Lopez, General Manager for Latin America at BQE Water, said the El Mirador project represents the first large mining project where the company will be the technical lead for the overall site water management plan rather than focus only on water treatment.

“And, with the long time horizon for water treatment at El Mirador, the current contracts may provide an opportunity for further cooperation between our two companies to support EcuaCorriente to reduce life cycle costs and conduct mining operations in an environmentally friendly manner at El Mirador,” Lopez said.

The El Mirador mine, owned by a consortium consisting of China Railway Construction Corporation and Tonglin Nonferrous Metals Group, is a large copper-gold porphyry project that was brought into production in 2019. It is expected to produce an average over 200 MIb (90,718 t) of copper and 60,000 oz of gold annually for the next 30 years.

The project site is located in a net positive water balance environment and will require ECSA to treat and discharge mine water into the environment throughout the project life, BQE said. “As production ramps-up and the mine footprint increases, both the volume of water requiring treatment and the water composition will change.”

SolGold outlines new copper-gold-silver block cave mine plan at Alpala

SolGold has laid out plans to develop a mine at its majority-owned Alpala copper-gold-silver deposit, in northern Ecuador, that will use block cave mining methods applied over several caves designed on two vertically extensive lifts.

The preliminary economic assessment on Alpala estimated a pre-production capital expenditure of $2.4-2.8 billion for a mine that could produce 150,000 t/y of copper, 245,000 oz/y of gold and 913,000 oz/y of silver in concentrate over the life of mine.

The PEA stated a post-tax net present value (8% discount) of $4.1-4.5 billion based on an average $3.30/lb ($7,275/t) copper price, $1,300/oz gold price and $16/oz silver price depending on a 40-60 Mt/y throughput rate.

As part of the PEA, four mine production cases were pre-selected and assessed. This included a 40 Mt/y option over a 66-year mine life, a 50 Mt/y blueprint with a staged ramp up and a 57-year life, a 50 Mt/y fast ramp-up plan with 55-year life and a 60 Mt/y route with 49-year life.

Unit C1 operating costs over the life of the mine were estimated at $0.90/lb copper after gold and silver credits using the 50 Mt/y, fast ramp-up plan.

Resources scheduled in the PEA block cave designs accounted for 2.4 Bt at 0.54% CuEq ROM grade.

SolGold said the prefeasibility study is expected to be completed in December 2019 with a definitive feasibility study scheduled for completion at the end of 2020.

SolGold CEO, Nick Mather, said: “The unusually low operating costs modelled are due to the relatively soft, fractured nature of the ore, resulting in enhanced caveability, a high degree of fragmentation in the cave and ease of crushing and millability, combined with low hydroelectric (consumption and unit) costs. The overall scale efficiencies also assist in the delivery of modelled low operating costs.”

Metallurgical work at Alpala, which is ongoing, indicates gold contents in the pyrite concentrate will require additional investigation to identify an efficient recovery strategy, SolGold said.

Additional metallurgical work is expected to identify solutions for recovery of gold and copper in the pyrite concentrate along with a sulphuric acid product.

Over the period to the end of 2019 when SolGold aims to complete the prefeasibility study, activities will focus on exploration, a new mineral resource, metallurgy and process design, investigation of further tailing disposal options and incorporation of further geotechnical and hydrogeological data into the PFS basis, SolGold said.

SolGold will also commence permitting and fiscal discussions with the Ecuador Government and financial discussions with third party financiers for SolGold’s share of the project costs following completion of the FS.

Mine development ahead of schedule at Lundin Gold’s Fruta del Norte project

Lundin Gold has reached the orebody at its Fruta del Norte project in Ecuador, with mine development tracking ahead of schedule.

The Toronto and Stockholm-listed company said it has completed 4.5 km of underground mine development so far, with level development having now commenced.

In the construction update on the 3,500 t/d underground project, the company said overall engineering was 85% complete, with project construction at 45% completion.

Ron Hochstein, Lundin Gold’s President and CEO, said: “Our team has reached and, in some cases, exceeded the project’s targets, all while maintaining excellent safety standards. With 70% of our capital expenditure committed and detailed engineering nearly done, Fruta del Norte is on schedule to meet its target of producing first gold in the fourth (December) quarter of this year.”

Lundin Gold said the majority of large process plant mechanical equipment was now on site, while 22% of powerline infrastructure was finished. The company noted it had clocked up more than 3 million manhours without a lost time incident.


Lundin Gold reported that the K’isa decline was completed on December 9, 2018, after 2.1 km of total development, and transitioned to production level 1170. Production level 1195 began on December 7, 2018 and a total of 330 m of level development on two levels has been completed. December average advance rates in K’isa were 9 m/d, versus a target of 7.1 m/d.

“The Kuri decline is at 2.07 km of total development and is progressing towards lower production levels in the mine. This decline was completed this month. December average advance rates in Kuri were 5 m/d, versus a target of 4.2 m/d,” Lundin said.

“Overall, advance rates in both declines exceeded the plan by 11% due to better than expected ground conditions and lower than anticipated water inflows.”

Lundin Gold said it is preparing the first stages of transition to owner operations and its mining fleet, which includes Epiroc drills and bolters and Cat scooptrams and trucks, has started to arrive at Fruta del Norte.

Process plant

Process plant concrete foundations (pictured) are 62% complete and structural steel erection is progressing as planned, the company said. The remaining mechanical equipment is expected to be on site this quarter and installation of the carbon-in-leach (CIL) circuit and grinding mills has started. Commissioning of the process plant is still on track to begin in September quarter of this year.

In October 2017, Lundin Gold awarded the long-lead time grinding equipment packages, including the SAG and ball mills (complete with motors) and the flotation and filtration packages to Outotec Chile SA. The gravity mill, CIL and detox tanks, and ADR plant and gold room packages were awarded to FLSmidth USA Inc. TelSmith will provide the crushing packages for both the process plant and aggregate quarry crushers, while ABB has been awarded switchgear and substation equipment and transformers packages.

With process plant engineering substantially complete, engineering efforts are now focused on the paste plant – where concrete works have begun – and water treatment plant facilities, Lundin Gold said.


The company successfully negotiated the Mountain Pass Quarry Exploitation Agreement with the local government in the December quarter of 2018, and extraction of aggregate materials began shortly after. Material from the quarry was necessary to move forward with the construction of the tailings storage facility (TSF).

Access roads and the polishing pond were completed in the December quarter, while construction advanced on the surface water perimeter diversion ditches around the TSF.

When fully ramped up, Fruta del Norte is expected to produce 325,000 oz/y of gold at an all-in sustaining cost of $583/oz over a 15-year period.