MAC: Mines and Communities

Xstrata Plans 2007 Pachón Prefeasibility, Advances Other Projects - Argentina, Peru

Published by MAC on 2007-03-29
Source: BNAmericas

Xstrata plans 2007 Pachón prefeasibility, advances other projects - Argentina, Peru

BNAmericas 29 March 2007

By Laura Superneau

A prefeasibility study is on track for completion by year-end at the El Pachón gold-copper project in Argentina's San Juan province, project operator, Xstrata Copper's CEO Charlie Sartain, said Thursday. A drilling program is due to wrap up "in the coming days," Sartain said during a presentation at the CRU 6th World Copper Conference in Santiago, Chile.

Conceptual studies completed in 2005 estimated capital costs of US$1.2bn to build a 100,000t/d open pit mine at El Pachón with conventional milling and flotation processing, according to earlier reports.

Also in Argentina, Xstrata Copper has embarked on construction of a 2,000t/y molybdenum plant at its 50%-owned Alumbrera copper-gold mine in Catamarca province, Sartain said.

The project is in line for commissioning in July this year and comes on the heels of an expansion completed in November 2006 that doubled throughput to 40Mt/y. Alumbrera churned out 641,158oz of gold and 180,144t of copper in concentrate last year.


The company's focus at its Tintaya copper mine in southern Peru is on expanding ore reserves with a view to extending the mine life, said Sartain. "The expansion possibility has been given real encouragement by the publication earlier this month of a significant mineral resource for the Antapaccay deposit," he said.

Based on historical exploration work, Xstrata Copper confirmed a 472Mt resource grading 0.74% copper and has launched 40,000m of drilling at Antapaccay, some 9km from the Tintaya facilities. "Prefeasibility into the development of this resource will be undertaken by the Tintaya development team in conjunction with other initiatives they are working on during the course of this year," said the CEO.

Tintaya produced 78,318t of copper in concentrate, 40,093oz of gold in concentrate and 36,729t of copper cathode in 2006. In Peru, Xstrata Copper also has a 37.5% stake in the Antamina mine where a concentrator expansion is due for completion in early 2008, as well as the Las Bambas copper district. The company also has assets in Chile. Xstrata Copper is the copper arm of Swiss resources giant Xstrata.

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