New Sulphide Processing Plant Advances La Colorado Expansion

Pan American Silver has commissioned a new sulphide ore processing plant at its La Colorada operations in Zacatecas, Mexico—a major milestone in the company’s project to increase La Colorado’s processing rate to 1,800 mt/d by the end of 2017. The new plant began processing sulphide ore on July 1, achieving throughput rates of more than 1,400 mt/d; however, these rates will be slightly reduced until a new mine shaft and additional underground development have been completed to provide a higher ore supply.

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Las Bambas Reaches Commercial Production

MMG Ltd. reported that the new Las Bambas open-pit copper mine in the Apurimac region of south-central Peru reached commercial on July 1. The pro-
ject is scheduled to produce 250,000 mt to 300,000 mt of copper in concentrate in 2016 as production ramps up. Full commercial production at a rate of 400,000 mt/y will rank Las Bambas among the world’s largest copper mines.

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Escondida Targets Growth Through Concentrator Expansion

Escondida, the world’s largest copper mine, is targeting a copper production increase from about 940,000 metric tons (mt) in 2016 to 1.2 million mt/y for 10 years following completion of a newly approved, $200 million expansion of its Los Colorados concentrator (one of three concentrators on the property). Escondida is located in northern Chile and is owned 57.5% by BHP Billiton, 30% by Rio Tinto, and 12.5% by two consortiums of Japanese companies. BHP Billiton is the operator.

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Avino Attains Production at Namesake Mexico Property

Avino Silver & Gold Mines reported that it has reached commercial production at a second mine—the Avino mine—on its Avino silver-gold-copper property in Durango state, Mexico. The company has operated the 250-mt/d San Gonzalo mine on the property since 2012. The two mines feed a conventional flotation mill that has three separate circuits and a capacity of 1,500 mt/d.

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