Antapaccay Dispatches First Copper Concentrates

Loading concentrate at Antapaccay. (Photo courtesy of Xstrata Copper)
Xstrata Copper’s new Antapaccay copper mine in southern Peru began production of commercial-grade copper concentrates at the beginning of November 2012 and delivered its first shipment to Matarani Port for delivery to customers worldwide later in the month. Plant commissioning was ongoing as Antapaccay progressively ramps up to its nameplate processing capacity of 70,000 mt/d in the first half of 2013. The mine will produce an average of 160,000 mt/y of copper in concentrate, plus gold and silver byproducts, in its ini-tial years of production.

Antapaccay operations include a new mine and state-of-the-art concentrator. Mine life is projected at more than 20 years. The project is located at an elevation of 4,100 m above sea level in the Yauri dis-trict of Espinar province in southern Peru’s Cusco region, approximately 10 km from Xstrata Copper’s Tintaya open-pit mine.

Mining activities at Tintaya are winding down, and Antapaccay will benefit from Tintaya’s existing administrative and logistics infrastructure and experienced workforce. The Antapaccay mine will employ a permanent workforce of around 1,400 people, with the majority of workers transferring from Tintaya as it closes, and will create further opportunities for local employment.

The Antapaccay deposit has recently been expanded by 30% to an estimated total mineral resource of more than 1 billion mt at a grade of 0.49% copper using a cut-off grade of 0.15% copper, including gold and silver byproducts. The mineral resource contains 5 million mt of copper metal.

The Tintaya geological district also hosts the Coroccohuayco deposit, with a current mineral resource of 324 million mt at a grade of 0.93% copper, and a number of additional exploration targets.

Xstrata Copper Chief Executive Charlie Sartain said, “I am delighted to announce that we commenced production at our major Antapaccay project on schedule and in line with the original budget of $1.5 billion.”

Construction at Lomas Bayas: On December 21, 2012, Xstrata Copper report-ed completion of construction and start of commissioning of the $300-million Lomas II project at its Lomas Bayas operations in northern Chile. The project will extend mine life at Lomas Bayas by 16 years, until at least 2028, at existing production levels of 75,000 mt/y of copper cathodes.

The Lomas II project involved develop-ment of the Fortuna de Cobre open-pit, located 3 km from the operation’s original mine and infrastructure, and construction of a new primary crusher, a new conveyor transport system, and new heap and run-of-mine leach pads. Copper cathodes are produced using the existing Lomas Bayas SX-EW plant.

As featured in Womp 2013 Vol 01 -