Inmet Starting Construction at Cobre Panama
The Cobre Panama project is located in the Donoso district of Panama and is owned 80% by Minera Panama, S.A., an 80%-owned subsidiary of Inmet, and 20% by Korea Panama Mining Corp., a consor-tium of LS-Nikko Copper Inc. and Korea Resources Corp.
Cobre Panama is planned as a conven-tional truck-and-shovel, open-pit mine, with a concentrator that employs crushing, grinding and flotation to produce copper-gold and molybdenum concentrates. Ore throughput is planned to start at 160,000 mt/d, with later expansion to 240,000 mt/d. Mine life is projected at more than 31 years, based on reserves only and not including the project’s significant meas-ured, indicated, and inferred resources. The strip ratio will average 0.58:1, waste to ore.
A series of analyses was conducted to determine economic pit limits and the min-ing sequence for three mineral deposits in the Cobre Panama concession area: Botija, Colina and Valle Grande. The concentrator site will be centrally located within 2 km of all three deposits, as well as the stockpile. A fourth, smaller, deposit, Medio, is rough-ly 500 m northeast of the Colina pit, and a small Medio pit is part of the mine produc-tion schedule in years 11 to 14.
A 300-MW, coal-fired power plant and ship-loading port facilities are part of the project.
Cobre Panama’s production of metal contained in concentrates for years two through 16 is planned at 298,000 mt/y of copper, 106,000 mt/y of gold, 1.6 million oz/y of silver, and 3,100 mt/y of molybde-num. Total production costs are estimated at $1.47/lb of copper, net of byproduct credits and including net smelter royalties of 5% on copper and molybdenum and 4% on pre-cious metals, interest expense on assumed debt, project capital, and sustaining capital.
Total costs to develop Cobre Panama are estimated at $6.181 billion. The total capital estimate includes direct field cost for executing the project; the contractor’s costs for engineering, procurement, and construction management; the indirect costs of construction; the cost of an owner-provided mining fleet; owners’ costs incurred after May 1, 2012; contingency; and growth. The capital estimate does not include any amount for escalation.
Inmet expects to have committed more than 50% of the estimated capital required for Cobre Panama development by the end of 2012. The power plant has already been contracted under a lump sum, turn-key contract to SK Engineering & Construction, a Korean engineering and construction firm, which has already secured suppliers for long-lead items such as boilers, steam turbine generators, and flue gas desulphur-ization systems.
Inmet plans to contract detailed engi-neering and construction for the Cobre Panama process plant in the third quarter of 2012. The SAG mills, ball mills, and wrap-around drives have already been ordered and are currently being fabricated, with delivery expected in 2013. The com-pany also expects to make a commitment to purchase its mine fleet by the third quarter of 2012.
Current Cobre Panama project time-lines, subject to permitting and approvals, call for ore processing to start during the fourth quarter of 2015 and shipment of first concentrates in the first quarter of 2016.