First Quantum Minerals reported that the hydrometallurgical plant at Cobre Las Cruces has resumed copper production, processing lower-grade stockpiled ore. The stockpiled ore is expected to provide feed for the next several months while the company obtains the necessary regulatory approvals to begin mining at Phase 6, an area unaffected by a recent landslide at the mine, the company said.
A landslide at the mine, located in Gerena, Spain, forced the closure of the open-pit operation and management decided to shut down the hydrometallurgical complex. Prior to the incident, mine personnel identified a risk and immediately implemented safety protocols. The pit was evacuated and no injuries occurred. The slide mainly affected the north slope of the mine pit and part of the mine waste storage area. Materials, mostly clay, slid into the pit and covered the majority of the pit floor, but did not impact the area containing Phase 6 or access to that area.
An investigation into the causes of the slide and its impact continues, the company said, and it is working with government authorities and independent geotechnical experts.
While the investigation is being completed, work to restore the pit continues. Normal mining activities will resume once regulatory approvals have been received. Phase 6 contains the majority of the resource remaining in the current ore body.