Tag Archives: Spain

Fusion Fuel and Magnesitas to evaluate green hydrogen use in mining

Fusion Fuel Green has signed a memorandum of understanding with Spain-based mining company Magnesitas De Rubian SA to jointly explore the feasibility of combining green hydrogen and carbon capture technology to reduce the carbon intensity of mining operations and processing.

The longer-term ambition of the partnership is to accelerate the timeline to climate neutrality of mining activity and develop new mining solutions based on zero-emissions hydrogen, the companies said.

The proposed project would involve the installation of up to 10,000 HEVO-SOLAR units at Magnesitas’ magnesite site in Lugo, Spain, which would enable Fusion Fuel to produce 20,000 t/y of green hydrogen, the companies said. A portion of the output would be used to generate industrial heat in the Magnesitas’ natural gas/hydrogen combi furnaces, while the remainder would be combined with 125,000 t of CO2 captured by Magnesitas to produce between 38,000 and 45,000 t/y of synthetic fuels.

Joao Wahnon, Head of Business Development at Fusion Fuel, said: “We are very pleased to join with Magnesitas de Rubian to support them on their decarbonisation journey and co-develop new solutions to reduce the carbon footprint of the mining sector.

“Spain is an excellent market for our technology and an important market for us strategically, and this project is consistent with our mission of supplying the world with innovative and cost-competitive green hydrogen solutions to accelerate the energy transition.”

Eduardo Jiménez Aguirre, Managing Director of Magnesitas De Rubian, added: “The mining industry is only just beginning to think about climate risk and set emission-reduction targets, so we see this as a unique opportunity for Magnesitas de Rubian to assume a leading role in the decarbonisation effort. We are excited to be partnering with Fusion Fuel on this project and look forward to deploying their disruptive HEVO technology to generate renewable hydrogen for our operations.”

Fusion Fuel says it has created a revolutionary proprietary electrolyser solution, the HEVO, that allows it to produce hydrogen at highly competitive costs using renewable energy, resulting in zero-carbon emissions. HEVO has been specifically designed to be small, light and, critically, able to be mass produced using automated production lines, according to Fusion Fuel.

The company’s business lines include the sale of electrolyser technology to customers interested in building their own green hydrogen capacity, the development of hydrogen plants to be owned and operated by Fusion Fuel and active management of the portfolio of such hydrogen plants as assets, and the sale of green hydrogen as a commodity to end-users through long-term hydrogen purchase agreements.

FQM’s Cobre Las Cruces to fill open-pit output void with tailings reprocessing project

First Quantum Minerals’ majority-owned Cobre Las Cruces mine looks to have pushed out production for at least another year after devising a way to reprocess tailings at the copper operation in Spain.

A method was developed to reprocess tailings from already mined material, which is expected to yield around 22,000 t of copper over the next two years, First Quantum reported.

“Significant changes will be required to ensure the mine can adapt to the new processes required, but we have no doubt everyone at Las Cruces is up to the job,” it said.

In First Quantum’s most recent September quarter results, the company said 2020 was expected to be the final full year of production for the open pit at Cobre Las Cruces.

“Following the completion of open-pit mining, copper production will continue until early 2021 with the processing of stockpiled ore,” it said in the report, noting copper production guidance for 2020 of 55,000 t.

It added that extension of the current mine life through the re-processing of high-grade tailings was being assessed.

Alongside this tailings reprocessing strategy, Cobre Las Cruces is continuing its technical and study work on the polymetallic refinery project at Cobre Las Cruces.

Environmental permits for this project – which involves switching to a polymetallurgical processing route and developing an underground mine – are expected to be received before the end of the year, with water permits due in 2021, FQM said.

Atalaya Mining evaluating Lain Tech’s E-LIX System for copper cathode production

Atalaya Mining has commenced the execution of a feasibility study to evaluate the economic viability of producing cathodes from complex sulphide ores prevalent in the Iberian Pyrite Belt through the application of a new extraction process called the E-LIX System.

The production of cathodes has the potential to generate cost savings by reducing charges associated with concentrate transportation, treatment and refining, and penalty elements, while also reducing carbon emissions, the company said.

E-LIX System is a newly developed electrochemical extraction process developed and owned by Lain Technologies Ltd, led by Dr Eva Lain, who holds a PhD in Electrochemistry research from the University of Cambridge.

Through the application of singular catalysts and physico-chemical conditions, E-LIX System is able to achieve high metal recoveries under low residence times, by accomplishing rapid reaction rates while overcoming classic surface passivation issues that have typically impaired metal recovery from complex sulphide ores, Atalaya said. E-LIX System is considered to be a more environmentally-friendly process than existing technologies; it generates zero emissions and does not consume water or acid, and runs under mild operating conditions (atmospheric pressure and room temperature).

Patented in 2014 by Lain Tech, the E-LIX System has been developed in collaboration with Atalaya from an initial concept in the laboratory to a fully operational pilot plant located at Proyecto Riotinto, in Spain.

The pilot plant with a capacity of 5 t/d has been running for the past nine months, with only mandatory stoppage owing to COVID-19 restrictions. Leach rates of up to 250 kg/h have been achieved processing copper concentrates, zinc concentrates and blends of different types of sulphides, according to the company. The pilot plant also contains a solvent extraction and electrowinning (SX-EW) section and has successfully produced high purity copper cathodes as a proof of concept.

Excellent leach results with recovery rates well over 90% have been attained, the company said. Fast kinetics for copper and zinc have also been successfully achieved overcoming the well-known passivation problem of leaching primary sulphides.

The pilot plant has demonstrated that the E-LIX System effectively treats the impurity levels typically associated with the complex sulphides present in the pyrite belt that runs through the south of Portugal and Spain and prevalent at Proyecto Riotinto.

During the past five years, Atalaya has provided financial assistance to Lain Tech to develop the E-LIX System and has now reached an agreement with Lain Tech to use its patents, on an exclusive licence basis within the Iberian pyrite belt in Spain and Portugal.

Under the terms of the licence agreement and based on the encouraging operating results at the pilot plant, the company has commissioned a feasibility study to evaluate the construction of an industrial scale plant for the production of a minimum of 10,000 t/y of copper cathode metal. The study at a cost of around €1 million ($1.2 million) will be funded by Atalaya and is expected to be finalised in 2021. The agreement also provides for a profit sharing arrangement between Atalaya and Lain Tech.

“The feasibility study will be based on the results obtained from the pilot plant and aims to confirm the scalability of the E-LIX System and the capital and operating costs of the industrial plant,” Atalaya said. “Should the industrial plant be built, it will be funded and constructed by Atalaya with Lain Tech designing, operating and managing the E-LIX System.”

Atalaya believes that the use of the E-LIX System could potentially be applicable to the large amount of complex sulphide ore inventory present throughout the Iberian pyrite belt, including Atalaya’s mining properties such as Proyecto Riotinto and Proyecto Masa Valverde, it said.

Atalaya CEO, Alberto Lavandeira, said: “We are fortunate to have been given this unique opportunity to work with Dr Eva Lain in the development of the E-LIX System. I believe this system has the potential to play an important role in the economic treatment of many complex orebodies worldwide. We look forward to updating the market on the results of the feasibility study.”

Atalaya Mining looks to solar power for Proyecto Riotinto GHG emission, cost reductions

Atalaya Mining is looking to take advantage of a natural abundance of sunlight at its Proyecto Riotinto copper operation in Spain with the development of a 50 MW solar plant.

The company announced today that it has started the permitting process for the plant build, with the 50 MW generated set to be used for “self-consumption” at the operation.

Technical studies carried out by a third party during the past months have indicated that, in addition to making a significant contribution to reducing carbon emissions, the solar project is economically viable and could potentially contribute to reducing Proyecto Riotinto’s operating costs, Atalaya said.

“The decision to pursue the solar project is in line with Atalaya’s ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability and to continue to have a positive impact on the people, environment and society surrounding the mine,” it added.

During the permitting period, the company will evaluate the various financing options being proposed by industry players in Spain.

Subject to completing the permitting process and securing financing, construction is targeted to commence by mid-2021.

Alberto Lavandeira, CEO of Atalaya Mining, said: “We are pleased to be committing to this solar initiative which will be one of the largest projects of renewable self-consumption in the industry. This is only a first step in achieving our long-term sustainability goals, but one that will have a positive and near term impact on Proyecto Riotinto.”

Earlier this year, Atalaya Mining completed an expansion of the operation to hit 15 Mt/y, up from the previous rate of 9.5 Mt/y.

Rafaella considers processing options after positive TOMRA XRT ore sorting tests

Sensor-based ore sorting test work from TOMRA Sorting Solutions has shown the potential for lowering the planned capital expenditure and operating costs associated with developing the Santa Comba tungsten-tin project in Galicia, Spain, project owner Rafaella Resources has reported.

The “exceptional” ore sorting results showed a 50% rejection of un-mineralised rock and an approximate doubling of feed grade, which would significantly lower the planned process capex and opex, and enhance process efficiency through a simpler process flowsheet, the company said. The 50% cut in process tonnage also reduces the project’s environmental impact, with a far lower volume of waste generated, lower energy consumption per unit of metal produced and reduced water consumption.

The “Grade Recovery Curve” showed the potential for over 90% tungsten recovery with an increased yield of up to 55% of feed mass, it added, while testing of the low-grade ores showed viable recovery from over 2 Mt of mineralisation not currently factored into the project’s economics.

The program tested two bulk samples selected from assayed drill core crushed to two size groups: +8 mm to -20mm and +20 mm to -40 mm. Sample No. 40 was circa-1,100 kg of average grade ore at 0.15% WO3, while Sample No. 41 was circa-250 kg of low-grade ore at 0.05% WO3.

TOMRA’s conclusion in its report was that “the results from this test work were positive for both sizes and samples. Significant upgrades of WO3, as well as high recoveries, were achieved in all test runs for sample ‘40’ using X-ray Transmission (XRT), while leaving rather low grades for WO3 in the waste fraction. A calculation has shown that a 90% recovery of tungsten can be possible at a waste removal of more than 50%.

“The low-grade sample ’41’ could be upgraded by a factor of 1.7 to 3. For further calculations, a waste grade between 0.025 and 0.030 is achievable.”

The success of the XRT sorting tests allows several mining and process options, Rafaella says, including:

  • Simplification of the process;
  • Bulk ore zone mining to reduce operational costs and maximise ore recovery;
  • In-pit sorting and conveying;
  • Bulk underground mining and sorting of wider ore zones using larger and longer stopes;
  • Separate sorting of sub-grade mineralisation; and
  • Sorting of satellite deposit ores prior to hauling to the process plant.

TOMRA estimates a throughput of 1 Mt/y of feed ore and circa-500,000 t/y of pre-concentrate would require two XRT units.

Rafaella’s Managing Director, Steven Turner, said the results from the ore sorting test work have exceeded the company’s expectations.

“The clear discrimination between ore-bearing rock and low grade or barren rock has delivered high recoveries and yields allowing for a simpler process plant,” he said. “The benefits of this simplification will be significant once the metallurgical studies are completed. These results are now being fed into the feasibility study that is in the final stages of completion.

“The company looks forward to providing the market with these exciting updates on the fast tracking of its flagship project over the coming weeks.”

Santa Comba is a brownfield project with a 5.1 Mt JORC 2012 compliant near-surface inferred resource at 0.203% WO3 and 0.014% Sn and an underground inferred resource of 234,000 t at 0.95% WO3 and 0.28% Sn.

Swick signs BHP, MATSA drilling contracts and inks first Orexplore commercial pact

Swick Mining Services Limited has secured new drilling contracts with BHP’s Olympic Dam mine and MATSA’s copper operation in Spain at the same time as confirming the first commercial agreement for its Mineral Technology Business.

In what will be Swick’s second largest project, the company has been awarded a five-year contract to provide underground drilling services at Olympic Dam mine in South Australia.

Swick has been working with up to five rigs at Olympic Dam since 2017 when an initial trial of its underground mobile diamond drills commenced.

The new contract will see Swick increase its rig volume at site, with the first year’s scope requiring an initial eight rigs, with five to be added to the three currently operating at site. Of the five additional rigs, three are at site already and the remainder will be mobilised from Swick’s existing fleet, according to Swick.

Swick has also been awarded a five-year contract from Minas de Aguas Teñidas SAU (MATSA) at its copper operations in Spain, where two rigs are currently deployed.

These projects, combined with Swick’s existing work in hand, has expanded Swick’s order book to A$363 million ($260 million), it said.

Swick’s Mineral Technology Business, Orexplore, has also been awarded its first infield commercial agreement, the company said.

Under the agreement with St Barbara Ltd, some 1,500 m of core will be scanned per month over a six-month period at the Gwalia mine in Leonora, Western Australia.

Swick will conduct technical assessment over a number of potential benefits of the detailed core analysis and high volume of quality data generated by the GeoCore X10 instrument, it said. The agreement has a value of around A$700,000 over the six-month period.

“Orexplore will be working with world-class subject matter experts to ensure maximum value for the client is derived from the data obtained to develop a compelling justification for ongoing services beyond the initial six-month period,” it said.

Swick expects a formal contract to be signed in the coming weeks and mobilisation of GeoCore X10 instruments housed in a custom-built mobile laboratory to site in September 2020.

The GeoCore X10 analyses the element concentrations and minerals contained in a drill core, as well as providing a visualisation of the rock’s internal structure in 3D. This speeds up the chemical laboratory analysis process, enabling miners to accelerate their own decision making.

Swick Managing Director, Kent Swick, said the company was delighted to be awarded a long-term contract with BHP at Olympic Dam.

“Credit goes to our operational team who have delivered outstanding safety performance, and high quality and productive drilling that enabled Swick to secure this long term, high volume work,” he said.

“In addition, securing a five-year agreement with a large copper miner MATSA, in Spain, adds to our ongoing work with Somincor in Portugal along the historic Iberian Pyrite Belt. Our local workforce in that region is highly skilled and they are to be commended for converting a trial into a long-term contract in Spain.”

He concluded: “In the Mineral Technology Business, it is very exciting that we have taken a significant step forward with the award of Orexplore’s first infield commercial agreement. We look forward to ensuring the value is extracted from this rich 3D data set and I am confident we can add significant long-term value to the Gwalia mine and the wider brownfield market.”

New name and new speakers for MMH mining event in Seville

The international Mining and Minerals Hall (MMH), in Seville, Spain, has more than 70 speakers lined up for its next edition, taking place on October 15-17.

MMH 2019, taking place at the Seville Conference and Exhibition Centre (FIBES), is the third edition of the meeting. While it will keep the same format as the previous two events, this year’s MMH has changed focus. Previously named Metallic Mining Hall, the change is aimed at creating an inclusive meeting for the entire mining sector embracing sectors such as industrial minerals this time around.

The King, Don Felipe VI, Pedro Sánchez, President of the Government, and Juan Manuel Moreno, President of Junta de Andalucía, will be leading MMH’s Honorary Committee, which has devised an event that will attract participation from the main mining industries and representation from ancillary service companies. The exhibition area, which has been expanded since the last event in 2017, is to host more than 100 companies.

MMH has attracted a stellar list of speakers this time around, who will analyse the latest industry trends and share their experiences in the regional industry, which has recovered its role as one of the most important engines of the Andalusia economy.

As Javier Targhetta, CEO of the metallurgy company Atlantic Copper, and Commissioner of this new edition of MMH, said: “This evolution of the Hall can only be explained by the recovery of a sector which, in the last few years, has striven to find new ways and procedures to develop its activity efficiently and sustainably.”

Targhetta is right. In the two years since the last edition of MMH, the Riotinto copper mine has expanded, MATSA has ramped up its operations and, more recently, Cobre Las Cruces is considering a significant mine life extension through a new underground and pyrometallurgical project.

Targetta continued: “This is shown by the increase in the number of professionals from the different fields of mining who will participate in the scientific conference and will also enrich the knowledge of the conference attendants with their work, their experience and their innovative spirit.”

Sustainability and achieving a more sustainable, environmentally friendly mining industry will be a key theme of the conference, with roundtables such as ‘Competitiveness, sustainability and security of energy supply for mining and industry’ looking to confront the issue head on. This panel will see José Luis del Valle Doblado take on the chairman’s role, drawing on his experience as President of the MMH Scientific Committee and Chair of LAR ESPAÑA and WiZink.

The panel, ‘Circular economy opportunities for the mining industry’, meanwhile, will be moderated by Vicente Gutiérrez Peinador, General Manager of CONFEDEM, the National Mining Association of Spain. He will, no doubt, also have some thoughts to share on the sustainability panel given CONFEDEM recently became the fifth national mining association outside of Canada to adopt the Mining Association of Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining® initiative.

Luis Montoto Rojo, Communications Director of Junta de Andalucía’s Taxation, Industry and Energy Department, will have his work cut out as moderator of a session titled, ‘Social licence to operate: mining industry management and its connection with society’. Miners in Andalucia, in recent years, have done well to win back the trust of local and regional communities following a tailings dam failure at the Los Frailes lead-zinc mine, in 1998, that damaged the two’s relationship. Expect to hear some examples of this positive engagement during the panel.

This is not all. The event program also includes presentations by José F Sánchez-Junco, CEO of explosives and blasting expert MAXAM, speaking on the subject, ‘Innovation and energetic materials in the mining operation’.

The Confederation of Rock and Industrial Mineral Extractive Industries (COMINROC) has played an integral role in organising the third edition of MMH, having signed an alliance with MMH and Congresos y Turismo de Sevilla (CONTURSA), the company managing the MMH venue, FIBES, back in March. Representing 10 sectors of the extractive industry, namely aggregates, lime, cement, industrial minerals, ornamental rock, clay, slate, magnesite, siliceous sand and gypsum, COMINROC’s participation was key in ensuring miners from these segments participated in this third edition. César Luaces Frades, Technical General Secretary of COMINROC, will present, ‘Extractive industry strategy for biodiversity: a key actor’, at the event.

Meanwhile, Glenn Orveillon, an expert in the circular economy and industrial leadership of the European Commission, will share his experience of working in the institution in a session titled, ‘Circular economy in the European Union’.

Atlantic Copper’s Targhetta will moderate a panel titled, ‘Present situation, threats and opportunities of metallic mining’, steering a stellar lineup of participants including Alberto Lavandeira, CEO of Atalaya Mining – the owner of the historic Riotinto copper mine – Audra Walsh, CEO of MATSA – the owner of three base and precious metal mines in Andalucia – Isabel Suárez Díaz, Secretary General of the Geological and Mining Institute of Spain, IGME; Juan Pedro Soler, CEO of Cobre Las Cruces – the only hydrometallurgical copper producer in Europe; and Mark Rachovides, President of Euromines.

The ‘Mining policies and investments’ panel will be moderated by Antonio García Muñoz, Managing Partner of Lener’s Mining Sector area; and ‘Biodiversity management in the extractive industry’ will be chaired by Lafarge Holcim España’s Pilar Gegúndez Cámara.

The following talks will also be given: ‘Raw materials and geopolitics’ by Isaac Querub, Co-Founder and Partner of Moka Consulting; and ‘Premises for the new Mining Strategy in Andalusia, starting point’, by Natalia González Herrera, Junta de Andalucía’s General Secretary of Industry, Energy and Mines.

Finally, several round tables will take a future view on the mining sector of Andalucia.

‘Challenges and opportunities in the rock and industrial mineral sector’ will be moderated by Aniceto Zaragoza Ramírez, General Manager of The Spanish Cement Association, OFICEMEN. Mining original equipment manufacturer Epiroc will be represented up on stage by José Manuel Sánchez Blanes, President of Drilling Solutions. He will moderate a panel titled, ‘Innovation and development in the mining industry: mining as a forward-looking project’. Given Epiroc’s investments in battery-electric and automated equipment for underground mines, he will have much to add here.

Horizon 2020, the European Union’s biggest research and innovation program ever with nearly €80 billion ($88 billion) of funding available over seven years (2014 to 2020), will also be discussed during the conference. Lydia González, Spain’s representative in the program’s committee, CDTI, will present, ‘Research and innovation on raw materials in Horizon Europe, UE’s 9th Framework Programme 2021-2027’.

There will also be a series of workshops at the event to suit all participants needs.

To hear more about the event, visit the website here.

International Mining is a media sponsor of the third edition of MMH in Seville

EU-funded robotics project to confront underground mining challenges

The European Union (EU) has agreed to fund a project through its Horizon 2020 program looking into the development of a “bio-inspired, modular and reconfigurable robot-miner” for small and difficult to access underground mineral deposits.

The 48-month ROBOMINERS project held its kick-off meeting in Madrid, Spain, on June 13-14, 2019.

The project has been set up with the long-term strategic objective to facilitate EU access to raw materials – including those considered strategic or critical for the global energy transition – from domestic resources. This is all in an effort to decrease the EU’s import dependency.

ROBOMINERS’ approach combines the creation of a new mining ecosystem with novel ideas from other sectors, in particular the inclusion of disruptive concepts from robotics, the European Commission said.

“The use of the robot miner will especially be relevant for mineral deposits that are small or difficult to access,” it said. “This covers both abandoned, nowadays flooded mines, that are not accessible anymore for conventional mining techniques, or places that have formerly been explored but whose exploitation was considered as uneconomic due to the small size of the deposits or the difficulty to access them.”

Within the project duration, the consortium aims to:

  • Construct a fully functional modular robot miner prototype following a bio-inspired design, capable of operating, navigating and performing selective mining in a flooded underground environment;
  • Design a mining ecosystem of expected future upstream/downstream raw materials processes via simulations, modelling and virtual prototyping;
  • Validate all key functions of the robot-miner to a Technology Readiness Level 4, and;
  • Use the prototypes to study and advance future research challenges concerning scalability, resilience, re-configurability, self-repair, collective behaviour, operation in harsh environments, selective mining, production methods as well as for the necessary converging technologies on an overall mining ecosystem level.

Led by the Centre for Automation and Robotics of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and the Spanish National Research Council, ROBOMINERS will be implemented by a consortium of 14 partners from 11 EU countries, that covers a wide range specialities, consisting of geo-scientific SMEs, academics covering both mining and robotics, non-governmental organisations, and governmental bodies.

The European Federation of Geologists, which has a network of more than 45,000 geoscientists across Europe, will lead the dissemination and communication efforts within ROBOMINERS.

MATSA wins quick payback from Weir Cavex hydrocylone installation

Weir Minerals says the introduction of a Cavex® hydrocyclone cluster at MATSA’s processing plant, in Spain, has delivered payback in just three days.

MATSA is a modern Spanish mining company based in the north of the Iberian Pyrite Belt, a mining district that has been active for more than 2,500 years. The company, owned 50:50 by Trafigura and Mubadala Investment Company, owns and operates three mines in the province of Huelva, Spain: Aguas Teñidas and Magdalena, located in Almonaster la Real, and the Sotiel mine, in Calañas.

The processing plant, in Almonaster, recently went through a €236 million ($266 million) expansion that saw capacity go from 2.2 Mt/y to 4.4-4.7 Mt/y through the addition of a second plant. The plant now has the capacity to treat copper and polymetallic ores through three grinding lines.

Weir Minerals says it has been working with MATSA to optimise its minerals treatment plant’s primary and secondary grinding circuits.

Seda Kahraman, Regional Process Engineer Manager for Weir Minerals, said: “We have been working with MATSA for 12 years and our service team has built a solid partnership with them. We opened a service site close to MATSA and employed a full-time Service Engineer on site to provide adequate support.

“Their success is our success, and working on this particular project was both very challenging and very rewarding. They needed to increase their grinding circuit capacity from 275 t/h to 307 t/h, whilst reducing the quantity of ultrafines in the final overflow of the second hydrocyclone cluster.”

Antonio Gamiz, MATSA Plant Technical Director, said: “To maximise our plant productivity we needed a Cavex hydrocyclone cluster that was specifically designed to our application. This was achieved without an extension of the plant area and with minimal capital expenditure.”

Weir Minerals took a holistic approach to this challenge by first creating a simulation of the entire primary and secondary grinding circuit. This enabled it to visualise how the process should be running, and the most appropriate way to deliver this.

Following the simulation, the best operating conditions were calculated to support the required capacity increase and elimination of slimes, Weir said. This included the ball mills, mill liners and hydrocyclones. Using 3D laser scanner technology, the team at Weir Minerals developed a suitable layout for the equipment, including modification and steel structures.

Kahraman said:“This truly was a turnkey solution; the team had to pull together all their smarts, capabilities and tools to ensure MATSA’s grinding capacity was raised, whilst simultaneously reducing the quantity of ultrafines from their overflow. We achieved this with a range of tools and techniques including engineer design, subcontract management, and manufacturing of steel.”

To deliver the solutions MATSA required, Weir Minerals replaced the primary hydrocyclone cluster, as well as the spare parts on the secondary hydrocyclone cluster; redesigned the steel structure and walkways; installed new hydrocyclone feed pumps and piping configurations, installing and commissioning the entire project, Weir said.

The modification to the steelwork and piping, as well as the assembly of the new three-way Cavex 650CVX hydrocyclone cluster were completed in less than four days without any production interruptions, according to Weir.

Upon analysing samples from various points in the grinding circuit, it was confirmed the feed capacity had successfully increased to 300-307 t/h.

Kahraman said: “In addition to the desired increase in grinding capacity, we also improved circulating load in the primary ball mill and restored the feed pressure to the Cavex hydrocyclones to 85 kPa. We are thrilled that MATSA achieved payback in just three days due to the increase in production by 500 t/d, and achieved additional revenue of €2,751/h.”

Open-pit mining to recommence at FQM Las Cruces copper operation

The Andalusia Government has authorised the resumption of exploitation work at the Las Cruces copper mine in Gerena, Spain, following a pit wall slide that occurred back in January, the operating subsidiary, Cobre Las Cruces (CLC), says.

In an announcement translated from Spanish to English and dated July 12, the company said it was in a position to immediately restart mining operations in the open pit, after receiving the corresponding authorisation from the Ministry of Finance, Industry and Energy of the Junta de Andalucía.

Open-pit mining at Las Cruces, owned by First Quantum Minerals through its ownership in CLC, was temporarily suspended as a result of a landslide that occurred on the northern slope of the pit on January 23.

The stoppage of the open pit has previously led First Quantum Minerals to warn investors the operation could lose around 25,000 t of copper output in 2019, followed by a further 25,000 t in 2020.

Since open-pit mining stopped, the operation has been feeding the hydrometallurgical plant with stockpiled ore to keep up throughput.

The approval to restart activity at the mine follows the company enacting its recovery and insurance plan at the open-pit site. This has seen CLC rebuild and reinforce the pit wall, as well as employ a georadar and laser scanner to scan the slopes of the mine in real time. A seismograph has also been employed to detect possible vibrations in the terrain.

Open-pit mining will resume in the eastern area of the open pit, CLC said. This is where the last phase of mining (phase 6) of the current open-pit plan is due to take place before the deposit is exhausted.

Las Cruces produced 70,738 t of copper cathode in 2018, slightly behind the 73,664 t it posted in 2017.