Minera y Metalurgica del Boleo (MMB) produced the first copper cathodes at its El Boleo project near Santa Rosalia, Baja California Sur, Mexico, in mid-January 2015. The project is designed to produce 51,000 mt/y of 99.99% pure copper cathodes, 1,700 mt/y of metallic cobalt, and 25,000 mt/y of zinc sulphate. Production during 2015 is forecast at 24,000 mt of copper, 600 mt of metallic cobalt, and 8,000 mt of zinc sulphate. Project life is planned at a minimum of 22 years.
Capital investment to develop El Boleo totaled about $2 billion, the largest single mining investment in the history of Baja California Sur state.
MMB is 90% owned by a group of Korean companies headed by Korean Resources Corp. (KORES) and 10% by Baja Mining.
Mining is by a room-and-pillar, continuous-miner underground mining method, using standard equipment found in many coal, potash and salt mines.
The MMB announcement made note of difficulties that had to be overcome to get the El Boleo plant up and running. In particular, the company’s CEO Sung Keun Chai and its COO Kyoung Jin Park died in a flash flood during Hurricane Odile in September 2014.
El Boleo is a water and energy self-sufficient operation. Fresh water is produced at desalination plants, and electricity is produce by diesel generators and a steam turbine.