Processing at the Constancia copper project includes SAG and ball mining, followed by flotation of sulphide minerals to produce commercial-grade copper and molybdenum concentrates. (Photo courtesy of Hudbay Minerals)
Processing at the Constancia copper project includes SAG and ball mining, followed by flotation of sulphide minerals to produce commercial-grade copper and molybdenum concentrates. (Photo courtesy of Hudbay Minerals)

Hudbay Minerals achieved initial concentrate production at its Constancia open-pit porphyry copper project in southern Peru in the fourth quarter of 2014 and expects to declare commercial production during the second quarter of 2015. At full production, Constancia plant throughput will average 80,000 metric tons per day (mt/d), and production of copper in concentrate will average 82,000 mt/y.

Mine life is planned at 22 years. Project development capital totaled about $1.7 billion.

Hudbay acquired the Constancia project when it acquired Norsemont Mining in 2011. The Constancia deposit is a porphyry copper-molybdenum system that includes copper-bearing skarn mineralization. As of January 1, 2014, proven reserves totaled 483 million mt grading 0.32% copper, 93 g/mt molybdenum, 0.040 g/mt gold, and 3.04 g/mt silver, and probable reserves totaled 94 million mt grading 0.22% copper, 61 g/mt molybdenum, 0.36 g/mt gold, and 2.77 g/mt silver.

Constancia is a conventional surface-mining operation based on two deposits, Constancia and Pampacancha. The processing facility is located approximately 1 km west of the Constancia pit. Operations include open-pit mining, SAG and ball milling, and flotation of sulphide minerals to produce commercial-grade copper and molybdenum concentrates. Silver and a small quantity of payable gold will report to the copper concentrate.

The Pampacancha deposit is 5 km southeast of the Constancia deposit, exhibits higher grades of copper and gold, and is scheduled to enter into production during 2016.

Constancia project development benefitted from access to existing roads, rail, a deep-sea port, and a power substation that support mine-site operations and the movement of copper concentrate from the site. Hudbay has secured 10-year port access and power supply agreements, as well as a 15-year tax and fiscal stability agreement with the government of Peru.

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