Baja Mining Corp. recently commenced underground mining of copper-cobalt-zinc ore at its Boleo mine located near Santa Rosalia, Baja California Sur, Mexico. This, according to the company, is the first stage of an 18-month program, ramping up to full underground production in March 2013.
According to the startup announcement, the first continuous mining unit was commissioned September 5, 2011, and will mine ore from Boleo’s Manto 3 in the Texcoco Arroyo, which is 4 km west of the process plant construction site. Three main headings into Manto 3 ore will allow production of 159,000 wet metric tons (mt) over the next eight months, and along with two other underground mining areas, will meet Boleo’s initial consumption schedule of 11,400 wet mt/d. Current plans provide for 1 million mt of ore on the main stockpile by the start-up of the process plant in 2013, allowing for commissioning and providing up to three months of capacity reserve.
Over the initial 23-year life of the mine, 94% of ore will be derived from underground mining and the remaining 6% will come from surface mining.
“The successful initiation of our first underground mining program marks another significant milestone in the development of Boleo,” said Bajas President and CEO John Greenslade.
Canada-based Baja has a 70% interest in Boleo and is the project operator. A Korean syndicate of industrial companies holds the remaining 30%.