Buenaventura, the largest producer of precious metals in Peru, has a diversified portfolio of operations and projects (gold, silver and industrial metals assets), which will enable it to optimize and revitalize its growth strategy in the coming years.
On Thursday at the Institute of Mining Engineers of Peru's (IIMP) “Investment and Development in Mining," General Manager and President Víctor Gobitz said its portfolio implies less volatility and greater confidence to its shareholders. This was a forum organized by the Peruvian-Nordic Chamber of Commerce.
The IIMP officer indicated that Buenaventura has been around for more than 60 years and has vast experience in replenishing reserves, which allows them not only to have a long-term business plan, but to associate with prestigious foreign companies.
“In all this time, it has developed capabilities and reputation within the global mining industry to grow through joint ventures such as Yanacocha (Newmont), Cerro Verde (Freeport-McMoRan), El Brocal and Coimolache,” Gobitz said.
Gobitz remarked that one of the pillars of Buenaventura’s sustained growth in recent years is also due to the fact that it operates in Peru, a country with a long mining tradition, in addition to a solid macroeconomic situation and an important degree investment.
Peru has climbed eight rungs in the ranking of jurisdictions (countries and provinces) most attractive for mining investment, rising from 36 to 28 (between 2015 and 2016), according to a report by the Canadian Institute Fraser.
“These factors have determined that Buenaventura continues to develop 100% of its projects in our country,” Gobitz said.
He mentioned that Buenaventura also has a diversified regional portfolio with three clusters that allow it to benefit from synergies in the north (Coimolache-La Zanja-Yanacocha), the center (Marcapunta-El Brocal-Uchucchacua-Mallay) and the south of the country Trapiche-Tambomayo-Cerro Verde).
The general manager of Buenaventura indicated that, this year, one of the most significant projects to be developed is Quecher Main. This project will allow the company to extend the life of Yanacocha until 2025, with a production of 200,000 ounces of gold per year.
This project should be approved within the last quarter of 2017. “It takes three years for the Yanacocha Sulfuros project to achieve a feasibility maturity and a decision is made,” he said.
In the case of the recently inaugurated Tambomayo underground operation in Arequipa, it indicated that they would start full production in the third quarter of 2017, due to some identified bottlenecks in the tailings filtration process. “We are acquiring a new equipment, to remove the water of a very fine material (20 microns of dimension), which is very complex.”
Buenaventura expects the annual production of Tambomayo to reach between 120,000 ounces and 150,000 ounces of gold in 2017 and about 3 million ounces of silver.
He also commented that another one of the challenges of Buenaventura is the integration of North and South Marcapunta, operated by its subsidiary El Brocal, which would improve not only the mining infrastructure but would bring the mine to the concentrating plant. This process would culminate in the fourth quarter of this year and would almost double its production from 7,000 tons per day (t/d) to 13,000 t/d.
At another time, Gobitz said Buenaventura also plans to run the Trapiche copper project in two phases, which will reduce the initial investment in that field, located in the Apurimac region, in the southern highlands of the country.
“Trapiche is a large open-pit copper project that contains secondary copper at the top of the deposit, which is leachable to produce copper cathodes in its initial phase,” he said. “Then in the second stage, with the open pit, we estimate to develop primary sulphides, where we would have copper concentrates.”
The head of IIMP said that, from the 925 million tons of total resources of this deposit, 251 million are leachable material. Trapiche is located in the same copper belt as Las Bambas, Antapaccay and Constancia operations.