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Spotlight

New Gold Projects

Mon, 10/21/2013 - 12:49

SILVER DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS

First Majestic Silver Corp. completed development of the first section of Del Toro mine in 2012, and has progressed with the second section throughout 2013. The unit is expected to process over 2,000 t/d by the end of the year. This asset is located in the Silver Belt of Zacatecas and its probable and proven resources surpass 90.3 million silver ounces.

In October 2012 Fresnillo plc finalized feasibility studies for its San Julian silver project, which is located in the bordering area between Chihuahua and Durango states. Construction at this site is already underway, which will enable the company to reach an output of 9.6 million ounces by the end of 2014. Much like Fresnillo, two other mining companies with Mexican capital are developing attractive silver projects in the country. On one hand, Grupo Mexico is reactivating mining activities in Angangueo, Michoacan, by developing an underground gold, silver and zinc mine in the area. The Angangueo project has silver reserves of 3 million ounces and production is expected to begin in 2015. The expansion of its biggest mine, Buenavista del Cobre, will also give Grupo Mexico access to silver deposits of over 2.3 million ounces during the coming years. On the other hand, Minera Frisco’s Concheño and Porvenir are expected to produce 2.7 million silver ounces and 9.8 million silver ounces, respectively.

Besides having the potential to become Mexico’s biggest gold mine, the Metates project is also one of Mexico’s most promising undeveloped silver assets. It has reserves of over 526 million ounces of silver. Chesapeake Gold expects to produce a yearly volume of 25.1 million ounce of this metal by the second year of this mine’s production phase. Likewise, Torex Gold’s Morelos Norte project is also expected to deliver a significant amount of silver production by the end of the decade.

BASE METAL DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS

Grupo Mexico led the development of copper projects during 2012. The construction of concentrator plants, SX- EW plants, and the expansion of the Buenavista del Cobre mine, located in Sonora, are the main projects for Grupo Mexico, and US$2.835 billion will be invested with the aim of increasing annual copper production from 202,000 tonnes to 515,000 tonnes. In 2015 production is also set to begin within the company’s Angangueo project, with an output of 10,000 tonnes of copper. Other copper projects whose construction phases advanced during 2012 are El Boleo, located in Baja California Sur and operated by Baja Mining-KORES, and Tayahua, operated by Minera Frisco, which undertook the expansion of this unit last year and expects to begin producing in 2014. Other promising copper mines that underwent feasibility studies during the year are Grupo Jinchuan’s Bahuerachi asset and Mercator Minerals’ El Pilar project. The operators expect to invest US$900 million and US$350 million, respectively, to develop these mines over the coming years.

Durango’s zinc deposits attracted significant investment from Industrias Peñoles, which spent US$203 million during 2012 to launch zinc production at its Velardeña asset earlier this year. Indicated and measured reserves at the site amount to 46 million tonnes. Peñoles also completed the feasibility study of its Rey de Plata project, located in Guerrero, and expects to invest US$268 million to fully develop the site before 2015. Zinc and molibdenum production is also expected to increase over the coming years thanks to the presence of these metals as by-products in other projects. While zinc production at KORES’ and Baja Mining’s El Boleo is foreseen at 25,400 tonnes, Grupo Mexico’s Buenavista del Cobre will produce 2,000 tonnes of molybdenum and Mercator Minerals’ El Crestón asset will produce 11,000 annual tonnes of this same metal after 2016.