Number of Mining Projects Under Construction Increases
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Number of Mining Projects Under Construction Increases

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Karin Dilge By Karin Dilge | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Tue, 07/26/2022 - 17:13

The portfolio of Mexican mining projects currently in their construction stage has increased, as companies are focused on growing their production amid rising metal prices. The country hosts at least 11 projects under construction or preconstruction, of which total CAPEX stands at US$2.7 billion.

These numbers surpass the 8 initiatives worth US$1.5 billion in January of this year, reported BNAmericas. The growth of the portfolio includes Torex Gold’s Media Luna project and Endeavor Silver’s Terronera asset. As these 11 projects continued to progress, at least two went from the construction stage to initial operations this year. Moreover, the portfolio mirrors the delays in Juanicipio and the Piritas plant of Fresnillo, which have not been able to restart operations due to extensive setbacks in the required grid interconnection.

One of the key mining projects in progress is Media Luna. The Torex Gold asset produces gold, copper and silver, has a US$848 million CAPEX and is the newest project to undergo construction after the company finalized a feasibility study on March 31. The initiative considers an underground mine with a processing capacity of 7,500t/d. Media Luna will enable Torex Gold to maintain a production close to 450,000oz/y of gold equivalent until 2027.

According to the feasibility study, the company’s production at the property in Morelos consisting of El Limón Guajes and Media Luna will fall to an average of 374,000oz/y of equivalent gold during its 11 years of useful life until the end of 2033. The company is evaluating opportunities to increment the volume after 2027 and extend the useful life of the complex beyond 2033.

Moreover, Fresnillo and its partner MAG Silver concluded the construction of the Juanicipio gold-silver project with a US$440 million CAPEX. The companies expect to produce 11.7Moz/y of silver and 43,500oz/y of gold.

Southern Copper is also proceeding with its Buenavista Zinc project, with which the company aims to double its zinc production via the construction of an ore concentrator plant. the project would produce 100,000t/y of zinc and 20,000t/y of copper.

Equinox Gold has move along with some of the expansions at its Los Filos mine but has postponed the construction of a carbon-in-leach process plant (CIL) in Guerrero. The company started exploitation at the open pit in Guadalupe and underground mine in Bermejal as part of the expansion in 2021. Nonetheless, the decision regarding the CIL plant was delayed after nearby communities blocked it in 2021. Together with higher grades, the CIL plant will increase the production at Los Filos between 300,000 and 350,000oz/y in comparison to the range from 160,000 to 180,000oz/y predicted earlier on. The project will cost between US$230 million and US$250 million.

Other companies like Endeavour Silver, Alamos Gold, Altaley Mining and Minera Alamos are also looking to finish and increase construction of some of their Mexican assets.

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