Buenavista del Cobre

Mon, 10/21/2013 - 16:09

Formerly known as the Cananea mine, Buenavista del Cobre is an open pit copper mine located in Sonora at the site of one of the world’s largest copper ore deposits. Grupo Mexico operates five underground mines that produce zinc, lead, copper, silver and gold, a coal mine, and a zinc refinery. The mine production unit has 46 mining concession titles with a total area of 13,282 hectares. Buenavista del Cobre was restored to its full capacity in 2011, and Grupo Mexico is moving forward with an aggressive US$2.9 billion expansion investment program for this property, which will have an annual production capacity of 512,000 tonnes of copper by 2016. Grupo Mexico produces 55% of the copper in Mexico, representing 80.3% of sales for Grupo Mexico’s mining division, and holds the largest copper reserves in the world with 71.07 million tonnes of copper content.

In 2012, 53% of Grupo Mexico’s mining division was allocated to the expansions at the Buenavista mine. After obtaining the necessary environmental permits, the construction of the SX-EW III plant has started. The SX-EW III Plant at the Buenavista mine will produce 120,000 tonnes of copper cathodes per year with a purity of 99.99% and reports 38% completion, increasing from an initial installed capacity of 88,000 tonnes. The new plant is expected to start operations in the first quarter of 2014 and has been constructed with a total budget of US$444 million. Associated with the SX-EW III project, Grupo Mexico completed the construction and testing for the Quebalix III at Buenavista in February, and operations started in March 2013. This US$76 million investment consists of a crushing, conveying, and spreading system with a capacity of up to 15 million tonnes of ore per year that improves copper recovery during the leaching process and reduces the required time and cost of transporting ore.

The new Copper Concentrator II at Buenavista, with additional integrated molybdenum circuit will have an annual production of 188,000 tonnes of copper content in concentrates, 2.3 million ounces of silver content, and 21,000oz of gold content, on average. In addition, the plant will have a molybdenum circuit (Molybdenum Plant II) with a capacity to produce 2,600 tonnes of molybdenum content in concentrates per year. The project has a budget of US$1.383 billion and is expected to start operations in the first half of 2015. Construction of Buenavista’s first molybdenum plant was completed in early 2013, and production started in May of this year. This new concentrator, with a milling capacity of 100,000 t/d, will produce 2,000 tonnes of molybdenum content in concentrates annually. Prior to this US$38 million investment, Buenavista did not recover molybdenum as a byproduct and this investment will increase its production of molybdenum at the consolidated level, while also providing significant cash cost reductions.