Capstone Copper’s Mantoverde copper operation in Chile received 13 Komatsu 830E haul trucks in the March quarter in a sign of construction progress on its Mantoverde Development Project (MVDP).
The company said the MVDP at the existing Mantoverde (oxide) operation in Chile continued to progress, having, as of April 30, 2022, achieved overall progress of 49% and construction progress of 14% with the schedule remaining intact and construction completion targeted for late 2023.
Komatsu’s latest 830E, the 830E-5, comes with a 230-t capacity and is powered by a Cummins QSK60 diesel engine rated at a standard 2,500 hp (gross).
A 2021 technical report on the MVDP said the haulage fleet would mainly consist of Komatsu 830E trucks and a fleet of Cat 785s to re-handle oxide material. It said the peak required trucks will be between 2026 and 2029 with a requirement of 50 units.
The MVDP is expected to enable the company to process 235 Mt of copper sulphide reserves over a 20-year expected mine life, in addition to the operation’s existing oxide reserves. It involves the addition of a sulphide concentrator (12.3 Mt/y) and tailings storage facility, and the expansion of the existing desalination plant. This is expected to see production at Mantoverde increase from around 49,000 t of copper (cathodes only) in 2021 to approximately 120,000 t of copper (copper concentrate and cathodes) post project completion in 2024. The mine will also benefit from the production of approximately 31,000 oz/y of gold.
Work completed in the March quarter included the bulk earthworks for the primary crusher and grinding area platforms; bypass water pipeline with the internal lining, trench excavation and pipeline installation in the trench; drilling for all pumping and monitoring wells at the tailings storage facility (TSF) allowing for the commencement of the major TSF construction activities; and and the construction camp.
The MVDP is being progressed under a lump-sum turn-key engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) arrangement with Ausenco. The execution plan includes a Capstone Copper owner’s team working with the contractors during the execution phase.
FLSmidth has been selected by Ausenco to supply most of the key mineral processing technologies for the MVDP. The range of equipment and technologies includes the primary gyratory crusher, SAG mill, ball mill, traditional flotation cells, column cells, thickeners, cyclones and pumps.
The total project capital budget is now estimated to be $825 million and spend to date totals $338 million. The EPC contract total budget is approximately $525 million of which $220 million has been spent to date. The total project costs have increased slightly from $787 million to $825 million due to diesel price impact on pre-stripping costs of $23 million plus additional contingency of $15 million. The majority of the capital costs are fixed due to the nature of the lump sum turn-key contract with Ausenco of $525 million, or 67% of the original capital. Major mining equipment was price fixed prior to the current inflationary environment for approximately $140 million or 18% of the total original capital.
In the March quarter, Capstone Copper merged with Mantos Copper, a transaction that brought the MVDP into the Capstone asset base.