Xstrata Copper started plant commissioning on time and within budget at its $1.47-billion Antapaccay copper project in southern Peru in early August 2012. The major, long-life open-pit is located about 10 km from Xstrata Copper’s Tintaya open-pit mine, where mining activities are scheduled to come to an end by the first quarter of 2013.

                Antapaccay mine life is projected at more than 20 years. The project will initially produce an average of 160,000 mt/y of copper in concentrate, plus gold and silver byproduct credits. Ore will be processed through a new 70,000-mt/d concentrator, and concentrate will be transported by truck to Matarani Port for shipment to customers worldwide.

                Antapaccay is located at an elevation of 4,100 m above sea level in the Yauri district of Espinar province in southern Peru’s Cusco region. The new mine and concentrator will benefit from Tintaya’s existing administrative and logistics infrastructure and experienced workforce.

                Xstrata Copper also reported it has identified additional mineral resources in the southern pit of the Antapaccay orebody that will add further value to the project. Total mineral resources have increased by 27% to over 1 billion mt at a grade of 0.49% copper, using a cut-off grade of 0.15% copper. The project’s previously published 2011 mineral resource was estimated at 813 million mt at a copper grade of 0.52% using a cut-off grade of 0.2% copper.

                Xstrata Copper is currently conducting prefeasibility studies at the Coroccohuayco deposit, 9 km from Tintaya-Antapaccay, where the company announced a mineral resource of 324 million at 0.93% copper in December 2011. If developed, Coroccohuayco could augment Tintaya-Antapaccay’s production and mine life.

                Xstrata Copper Chief Executive Charlie Sartain said, “The new Antapaccay mine will transform our operations in southern Peru. Antapaccay is one of four copper projects that we are commissioning this year, including the successful major expansion at our Antamina joint venture operation in Peru, which commissioned in March and is already running above expanded nameplate capacity. These projects will drive an increase in Xstrata Copper’s total copper production to an annualized rate of 1 million mt by the end of the year.”