Tag Archives: Mexico

Telson Mining ready to experiment with metallurgical innovations at Campo Morado

Telson Mining, following a strong quarter of production from the Campo Morado mine, in Guerrero State, Mexico, is making plans to boost throughput and recoveries through the potential use of grinding, leaching and flotation technologies from the likes of Maelgwyn Mineral Services, Core Group and Glencore Technology.

The mine’s throughput averaged out at 58,100 t/mth in the March quarter, with total throughput for the quarter of 174,400 t being 4% higher than the December quarter. Some 11,013 t of zinc concentrate and 1,907 t of lead concentrate was produced over the period, compared with 9,974 t and 1,916 t, respectively, in the previous quarter.

Gold, silver, lead and zinc recoveries all improved, quarter-on-quarter, in the first three months of the year, the company added.

Ralph Shearing, Telson CEO and President, said: “These strong first quarter results continue to reflect our steady progression of improving the throughput and recoveries at Campo Morado. To this end, management intends to initiate a rigorous metallurgical testing program to advance through second phase testing the Leachox™ Process of Maelgwyn Mineral Services and the Albion Process™ of Core Group, both of which returned positive test results in first phase testing.”

He said this metallurgical testing program will also study the ability to increase base metal recoveries at microfine grinding with flotation recovery using Imhoflot Flotation (also Maelgwyn) and Jameson Cell (Glencore Technology) flotation technologies, both designed for such purposes.

“We are confident that additional recovery improvements are available utilising these exciting modern technologies which, if successful, can provide increased revenue streams,” Shearing added.

Maelgwyn’s Leachox Process consists of several Maelgwyn proprietary processes linked together including Imhoflot G-Cell flotation technology, ultra-fine grinding using the Ro-Star mill, Aachen Reactors and Aachen assisted cyanide destruction.

The Albion Process, meanwhile, is a combination of ultrafine grinding and oxidative leaching at atmospheric pressure. The feed to the Albion Process is refractory base or precious metal concentrates, where the sulphides in the feed are oxidised and liberated, allowing the target metals to be recovered by conventional means.

New Major Drilling rod handling rigs start turning at Hecla’s San Sebastian mine

Two new Major Drilling EF-75 drills have arrived and are now turning at Hecla Mining’s San Sebastian mine in Durango, Mexico, the drilling services company says.

The drills arrived in March and are part of Major Drilling’s fleet improvements, adding innovative rod handling capability to the project, it said.

“We are thankful that we are partnered with a company like Major Drilling that can provide newer, innovative drills,” Stephen Redak, Exploration Manager Mexico, Hecla Mining, said.

Hecla’s San Sebastian property is a silver and gold mine, where exploration work is underway in two main veins. Using these new drills at the San Sebastian project enhances Major Drilling’s 12-year history with Hecla in Mexico. This has seen more than 354,000 m drilled since 2009.

Major Drilling’s EF-75 core drill is new equipment for the Mexico branch. It combines safety with a high level of productivity, according to the company.

With the rod manipulator, operators benefit from rod handling, horizontal stacking and a safety screen to protect them while lifting and lowering rods. The rig is capable of depths of up to 2,700 m.

Workers are protected by rod handling innovation, and they improve results using a unique mast designed for accurate core orientation, the company says.

David Boucher, Major Drilling Mexico General Manager, said: “Hecla has been a long-time client of ours in Mexico, and we are very excited to bring these new drills out in Durango to really see what they can do at San Sebastian. We are very happy to have this equipment turning in Mexico.”

Major Drilling’s USA Division previously partnered with Hecla at the Fire Creek Mine in Nevada (now under care and maintenance). The company’s exploration teams have also drilled at Hecla surface exploration projects in other locations in the western USA.

Capstone prepares Cozamin for introduction of paste backfill, dry-stack tailings

An updated Technical Report on Capstone Mining’s Cozamin copper-silver mine in Zacatecas, Mexico, has shown the potential for a mine life extension to 2031, and a plan for dry-stack tailings and underground paste backfill. At the same time, the company says it is studying the use of “innovative mining techniques and enhanced pillar recovery” to make the most of existing reserves and resources.

The updated life of mine plan released outlined average annual copper production of 51.2 MIb (23,224 t) of copper and 1.6 Moz of silver production over 10 years at average C1 costs, including the 50% silver stream, of $1.02/Ib of payable copper. From 2021 to 2027, average annual production is slated to be 58.8 MIb of copper and 1.7 Moz of silver.

The company said a planned ramp-up to 3,780 t/d, or 1.38 Mt/y, by the end of March quarter is on track, with a new section of ramp to open the one-way traffic circuit to debottleneck the mine (pictured) completed in early December 2020, ahead of schedule.

Reserves increased by 39% and now stand at 14.1 Mt, relative to April 30, 2020. Contained copper and silver increased by 37% and 49%, respectively, with around half of this increase due to recovery of high-grade pillars using paste backfill, Capstone said.

The miner said “tailings management transformation” activities were progressing on schedule at site, including feasibility-level design and studies in support of permitting a filtered (dry stack) tailings storage facility.

“This conversion from a slurry tailings impoundment aligns with industry leading socio-environmental best practice for tailings management,” the company said.

Meanwhile, a prefeasibility study (PFS) for an underground paste backfill system was completed in December.

The study indicates a paste backfill system will allow ore extraction containing over 100 MIb of copper and 3.1 Moz of silver between 2023 and 2031, which would have otherwise been left as unmined pillars. The PFS design has a capital cost estimate ranging from $41-$45 million and an increase in operating costs of around $7.50/t of ore mined. Capstone says its management has approved the paste backfill project and work has commenced on procurement of long lead items.

The proposed paste backfill system includes a tailings filter plant, a paste mixing plant, twin boreholes to deliver paste underground and an underground distribution system. The system is expected to be commissioned starting in the December quarter of 2022, with ramp-up completed in the March quarter of 2023.

PFS design of these facilities was completed by Paterson & Cooke in December 2020 and a feasibility study is underway with completion expected in April 2021. Mine planning was completed by Cozamin, with design support provided by a geotechnical consultant, and paste backfill operational guidance provided by AMC Consultants.

Within the latest release, Capstone also flagged the initiation of its “Impact23 Growth” project, which has identified areas of exploration excellence, innovative mining techniques and enhanced pillar recovery at Cozamin.

“By 2023, the goal is to further extend mine life, increase environmental and safety standards, and improve operational efficiencies at Cozamin, utilising mineral resources already discovered in addition to testing new targets,” the company explained.

Included among the options are the innovative mining techniques for resource to reserve conversion flagged at the start of this story.

Capstone says a study will be initiated this year to assess alternative mining techniques with the objective of lowering costs and dilution to convert resources to reserves from the indicated resource base. The current mining methods are longitudinal longhole open stoping and AVOCA, with possible alternatives to be studied including cut-and-fill, drift-and-fill and longhole open stoping with ore sorting technology.

Brad Mercer, Capstone’s SVP and Chief Operating Officer, said: “The life of mine plan announced today maximises extraction of the orebody’s high-grade core by deferring stoping in this area until the paste backfill plant is in operation in 2023. Projected production averages nearly 60 MIb of copper per year for seven years at first quartile costs.

“The Impact23 Growth project that we are kickstarting today is aiming to demonstrate in a 2023 technical report how Cozamin can sustain these levels of performance well into the 2030s.”

Darren Pylot, Capstone’s President and CEO, added: “After 14 years in operation, the best years of Cozamin are ahead. The mine is world class with sustainable low costs and leading safety and environmental performance entrenched throughout the organisation. The growth initiatives are supported by an entrepreneurial fabric at Capstone, as we embrace innovation and technology to create high impact value for our shareholders.”

Orla Mining on course for first gold in 2021 at Camino Rojo Oxide project

The publication of the updated feasibility study on Orla Mining’s Camino Rojo Oxide Gold asset in Zacatecas, Mexico, has come with a 54% increase in contained gold reserves and a 3.5-year extension to the mine life of the in-construction project.

The new reserve estimate at Camino Rojo includes a proven and probable total of 67.4 Mt at 0.73 g/t Au and 14.5 g/t Ag, for total mineral reserves of 1.59 Moz of gold and 31.5 Moz of silver.

The updated study outlined open-pit mining of 67.4 Mt of oxide and transitional ore at a rate of 18,000 t/d. Ore from the pit will be crushed to 80% passing 28 mm, conveyor stacked onto a heap leach pad and leached using a low concentration sodium cyanide solution. Pregnant solution from the heap leach will be processed in a Merrill-Crowe recovery plant where gold and silver will be precipitated and doré will be produced. The site’s proximity to infrastructure, low stripping ratio, compact footprint and flat pad location all contribute to the project’s simplicity and low estimated all-in-sustaining costs of $543/oz of gold, the company said.

An after-tax net present value (5% discount) of $452 million was calculated by the study team led by Kappes Cassiday and Associates and supported by Independent Mining Consultants, Resource Geosciences Inc, John Ward Groundwater Consultant, Barranca Group, Piteau Associates Engineering and HydroGeoLogica Inc.

The main notable physical changes from the 2019 feasibility study are an increase in the size of the open pit, heap leach pad, and mine waste dump because of a layback agreement with the adjacent Fresnillo mine, all of which were anticipated in the initial design. While all material to be mined on the Fresnillo concession has been classified as waste in the latest study, Orla sees opportunities to further expand the reserve and resource base following further work on material in this area.

Jason Simpson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Orla, said: “The updated feasibility study for the Camino Rojo Oxide project demonstrates an increase in recovered gold, mine life, and cash flows.

“An already excellent project has been improved due to the hard work of the entire Orla team and I thank them for their efforts. We are pleased to announce this important enhancement and we will continue to optimise this asset as we move through construction and into production.”

Detailed engineering of the project described in the 2019 feasibility study is over 90% complete and procurement is 85% complete, with the start of earthworks announced on November 26, 2020. Since that time, 230 ha have been cleared for construction activities with over 20,000 cu.m of topsoil being removed and stockpiled. Equipment deliveries to site commenced in December, with a total of $78 million of the total project capital committed through purchase orders and contracts.

Orla says the mining contract is being finalised and expected to be in place early in the March quarter, with first gold production planned for late 2021.

SilverCrest adds process plant EPC remit to Ausenco’s Las Chispas FS work

SilverCrest Metals is racing ahead with securing one of the key contracts for its Las Chispas project in Mexico, with one of its Mexican subsidiaries entering into a fixed price engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract with Ausenco Engineering Canada and one of its affiliates ahead of the publication of a feasibility study on the silver-gold project.

While the study is still pending finalisation by Ausenco, with announcement of results targeted for late January 2021, SilverCrest says it is confident entering into the process plant agreement based on the substantial feasibility information currently available.

At the same time, the company entered into a $120 million project financing facility with an affiliate of RK Mine Finance for funding the Las Chispas build.

The lump sum turnkey price of $76.5 million for the EPC contract will include construction of a 1,250 t/d process plant at Las Chispas, with execution of Ausenco’s scope of work to begin in February 2021, and commissioning of the process plant targeted for the June quarter of 2022. The process plant production ramp-up is expected to start in the September quarter of that year.

The construction execution plan includes stringent COVID-19 protocols including the use of a confined single room occupancy camp designed to limit the potential for a virus outbreak at the site and in the local communities, SilverCrest says.

Ausenco is in the throes of completing the Las Chispas feasibility study and progressing detailed engineering and the construction management plan. Detailed engineering is progressing well at around 60% completion, according to SilverCrest, and procurement of long lead items started in the final quarter of 2020.

“Advancing these programs in parallel has allowed Ausenco to develop comprehensive capital and operating cost estimates for Las Chispas while progressing detailed engineering beyond what is customary at a feasibility study level,” SilverCrest said.

“The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic also allowed SilverCrest to initiate an early works program tailored to further reduce project execution risks.”

This early works program included the earthworks package, the water pumping system and the first phase of the construction camp. The advancement of the program, coupled with the fixed price nature of the EPC contract, reduces many common construction and market-related risks, the company said.

Beyond the tasks included in the EPC contract, the remaining initial capital costs anticipated for Las Chispas construction will include development costs of the underground mine; owner’s site costs; on-site infrastructure including Phase 2 of the confined construction camp, a bridge and the filtered (dry stack) tailings system facility; a new 33 kV, 49 km long powerline; and an analytical laboratory located in the community.

Pierre Beaudoin, COO of SilverCrest, said: “We are pleased to be working with Ausenco, a well-known and respected engineering firm with substantial global experience in designing, constructing, and commissioning precious metal process facilities. We have been working closely with Ausenco to complete the EPC contract and the feasibility study in close succession. We are confident that their intimate knowledge of the project will benefit the successful construction and commissioning of Las Chispas.”

A February 2019 preliminary economic assessment on Las Chispas outlined a 1,250 t/d production rate with an initial mine life of 8.5 years. This resulted in average annual production of 5.38 Moz of silver and 55,700 oz of gold.

McEwen Mining progresses gold-silver heap leach plan at Fenix

McEwen Mining looks to have found a way to prolong its operations at the El Gallo Complex in Sinaloa, Mexico, with the feasibility study for its 100%-owned Fenix project highlighting a 9.5-year operational blueprint.

Using gold and silver prices of $1,500/oz and $17/oz, McEwen has estimated an operation able to produce 26,000 oz of gold production in phase one (years one to six) and 4.2 Moz of silver-equivalent in phase two (years seven to nine-and-a-half).

Phase one comes with an initial capital bill of $42 million and an all-in sustaining cost (AISC) estimate of $1,042/oz of gold. Phase two would require a $24 million incremental capital injection in year six, with the AISC calculated at $14.28/oz of silver-equivalent.

The company’s El Gallo mine (pictured) produced 240,000 oz of gold and 125,000 oz of silver from 2012-2017, yet, due to the transition to deeper sulphide mineralisation not amenable to heap leaching, mining and crushing activities ceased in the June quarter of 2018.

While residual heap leaching is set to continue to produce gold for several years, the company has been working on a new project for the El Gallo Complex, which is where Fenix comes in.

The Fenix 2018 preliminary economic assessment evaluated the potential extension of production in the complex, based on a two-phased transformation of the processing from the El Gallo mine, innovative in-pit tailings disposal and sourcing from several deposits.

The latest feasibility study has run with that plan, with the critical path environmental permits in hand for the first phase of production, according to Rob McEwen, Chairman and Chief Owner of McEwen Mining.

“Our next steps will involve detailed engineering, assessment of procurement options and the evaluation of financing alternatives,” Rob McEwen said.

He added: “The project will incorporate an environmentally progressive method of tailings management, using in-pit storage that creates multiple benefits, most importantly a secure containment of tailings, enabling better reclamation results.”

VanGold adds El Cubo mine and mill to El Pinguico precious metals mix

VanGold Mining has signed a binding agreement with Endeavour Silver to acquire the El Cubo mine and mill complex in Mexico, accelerating the company’s transition from development to production at its nearby El Pinguico silver-gold project.

With a rated capacity of 1,500 t/d, the El Cubo complex is made up of two operating underground silver-gold mines and a flotation plant. It employed over 350 people and engaged over 200 contractors until Endeavour suspended operations at the end of November 2019.

For the year ended December 31, 2018, Endeavour produced a total of 4.58 Moz of silver-equivalent at the complex at an all-in sustaining cost of $8.86/oz.

Currently, the El Cubo mine, plant and tailings facilities are on short term care and maintenance. VanGold intends to re-start the mill at around 750 t/d using mineralised material from its surface and underground stockpiles at the El Pinguico project as a significant portion of its estimated throughput for the first 36 months of operation. Endeavour Silver states it has measured and indicated resources of 236,000 oz of silver equivalent at El Cubo.

VanGold Chairman and CEO, James Anderson, said: “After working well with the Endeavour team during our 1,000 t bulk sample in June 2020, it became clear that El Cubo would be the perfect production fit for VanGold.

“The availability of mineralised material from El Pinguico’s surface stockpile, El Pinguico’s underground stockpile, El Pinguico’s remaining high-grade historical stopes and pillars, as well as El Cubo’s historical resources, gives us great flexibility in deciding where to source material for the mill, and how to sequence that throughput.”

El Pinguico is a high-grade gold and silver deposit that was mined from the early 1890s until 1913. VanGold has recently gained access to some of the historical underground shafts and has drilling campaigns planned to explore these areas.

MAG Silver and Fresnillo make processing leap at Juanicipio

Fresnillo and MAG Silver Corp’s Juanicipio silver-gold-lead-zinc project, in Mexico, has reached a major milestone, with development material from the project being processed at the Fresnillo beneficiation plant during the September quarter.

The joint venture, owned 56% by Fresnillo and 44% by MAG, saw 42,476 t processed during the quarter, with total production of 394,000 oz of silver, 610 oz of gold, 138 t of lead and 174 t of zinc, Fresnillo reported.

This first development material was processed through the nearby Fresnillo processing plant (100% owned by Fresnillo) with the lead (silver-rich) and zinc concentrates treated at market terms under offtake agreements with Met-Mex Peñoles, SA De CV in Torreón, Mexico, MAG said. The revenue from this production, net of processing and treatment costs, will be used by the joint venture to offset cash requirements of the initial project capital, according to MAG.

“This first production from Juanicipio is a major milestone for the company,” George Paspalas, MAG Silver’s President and CEO, said. “The successful processing of development material not only provides cash flow to offset capex, but further de-risks the project as it heads toward commercial production. We are looking forward to the first production stope coming online in Q4 (December quarter) 2020, and our potential to continue to produce cash whilst we complete the process plant construction.”

Fresnillo expects to process an average of 16,000 t/mth of mineralised material from the joint venture through its processing facility to mid-2021, at which time the Juanicipio beneficiation plant is scheduled for commissioning.

Development continues on site and the final preparation of the first production stope was concluded during the September quarter. Also during the quarter, progress was achieved on the construction of the Juanicipio processing plant.

Seequent helps miners in COVID-19 era with remote geoscience software tools

Geoscience software company Seequent says it is accelerating the development of its cloud-based solution, Seequent Central, to enable organisations to continue work on critical, large-scale, earth, environment and renewable energy projects in the COVID-19 impacted environment.

Central works alongside Seequent’s other geoscience analysis, modelling and collaborative technologies, to contribute understanding to subsurface geoscience and engineering design solutions.

The cloud-based solution allows people in any location to visualise, track and manage geological models created for infrastructure and critical services projects, in a centralised, auditable environment, according to Seequent.

This means a wide range of stakeholders can readily access highly visual up-to-date information to manage risk and make better environmental and investment decisions, to progress projects, it said.

Seequent CEO, Shaun Maloney, said the company was working alongside customers to do everything it can to make it possible to meet the demands and operational challenges they may be facing in the current environment.

“In response to increased need and demand, we’re accelerating the development of Central to help our customers to continue to operate in interdependent and often remote work environments,” he said.

Seequent’s software is being used on hundreds of diverse projects across the globe, ranging from infrastructure projects including large-scale rail, road and tunnel projects across North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific; renewable energy projects in the US, Finland, Iceland, Indonesia, Philippines and New Zealand; mining and exploration projects in North and South America, Africa and Australia; and environmental projects such as groundwater management in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia-Pacific.

One of these projects is with Canada-based mining company First Majestic.

Focused on silver production in Mexico, First Majestic currently owns and operates the San Dimas silver-gold mine, the Santa Elena silver-gold mine and the La Encantada silver mine. The company is pursuing the development of its existing mineral property assets with industry practice modelling using Seequent’s solutions, according to the geoscience software company.

“First Majestic use Seequent’s Leapfrog Geo to develop a realistic presentation of the geology at each site (complex silver deposits with multiple veins), and Leapfrog Edge to aid resource estimation – and when geologic models are changed resource estimates also change dynamically,” Seequent says.

“Seequent Central allows the company to publish models and resource estimates – so they are immediately available to everyone from the mine geologists to management in real time.”

First Majestic Resource Geologist, David Rowe, says the company can now capture multiple resources across multiple mines.

“We can now get all cross-discipline experts together to review projects in one place, and I am notified when those reviews have happened,” he said. “This enables better access and collaboration for everyone.”

Outotec to deliver sustainable plant improvements at First Majestic Silver assets

Outotec has been awarded a contract by First Majestic Silver for the delivery of minerals processing technology for its mill optimisation projects at the San Dimas silver-gold mine and Santa Elena silver-gold mine, in Mexico.

The circa-€15 million ($16.3 million) order has been booked in Outotec’s 2020 March quarter order intake.

Outotec’s scope covers the design and delivery of an AG mill, counter current decantation thickener and a tailings filter for San Dimas, and thickeners and a tailings filter for Santa Elena. The deliveries are expected to take place in 2020 and 2021, it said.

Outotec previously delivered HIGmill® high-intensity grinding mills to First Majestic, with one of these going to the Santa Elena operation (pictured), where it has significantly improved the recovery of silver and gold.

Paul Sohlberg, Head of Outotec’s Minerals Processing business, said: “The energy efficient AG mill and environmentally sound thickeners and tailings filters will enable First Majestic to improve plant operations in a sustainable way.”

Back in January, First Majestic President & CEO, Keith Neumeyer, said the company’s 2020 focus remained on “adopting new innovation projects to modernise our processing plants to achieve higher recoveries, improve efficiencies and reduce operating costs”.

He added: “We have witnessed significant benefits from high-intensity grinding at our Santa Elena operation in 2019 and we plan to install the same technology at San Dimas in 2020.”

The company, at that point, said it expected to increase production at San Dimas by restarting mining operations at the past-producing Tayoltita mine by the end of the March quarter, expecting to ramp up production to 300 t/d by the end of 2020. The Tayoltita mine was the original mining area at San Dimas and known to contain higher silver grades.

It said a new 3,000 t/d HIGmill circuit and AG grinding mill would be installed in the second half of 2020 to further improve recoveries and reduce operating costs.

At Santa Elena, meanwhile, it said it planned to install an AG/SAG grinding mill by the end of the year, with a dual-circuit flowsheet implemented to separate the ultra-fine and coarse particles prior to leaching to further improve metallurgical recoveries and reduce energy costs.