The Company is currently advancing the Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) for the Project.
The 2019 Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) showed that the Vizcachitas Project is a large copper deposit which can be exploited using conventional large scale open pit and concentrator technology with robust economics.
As part of the PEA three alternatives were evaluated for process plant throughputs namely, 55 ktpd, 110 ktpd and 200 ktpd, with the 110 ktpd case yielding the highest After-Tax IRR and shortest Payback Period.
The PEA project was for a process plant that would process run-of-mine material delivered from the open pit and material re-handled from stockpiles utilized to optimize head grade to mill. The proposed process includes crushing and grinding of the mineral, bulk copper-molybdenum rougher and cleaner flotation, regrinding, copper-molybdenum separation, molybdenum flotation, and dewatering of copper and molybdenum concentrates. The flotation tailings would be thickened to 72% solids before placement in a tailings storage facility.
The Project is in close proximity to extensive infrastructure, including port facilities, railway lines and high-tension substations. The Project further benefits from a low altitude location permitting year-round exploration and project development.
The Project’s location in central Chile means that a significant amount of the infrastructure to support a mine operation is located in relative proximity. The port of Ventanas is 140 km away and currently handles copper concentrate from other mining operations in the district. There is an operating railway line in San Felipe with connections to the two smelters and the port of Ventanas. The PEA considered shipping of copper concentrate by rail to Ventanas.
There are several large power substations near to the project site. San Felipe substation and the Nogales substation are part of the national 220 kV power distribution system. The Rocin River flows through the project site and is a tributary of the Putaendo and the Aconcagua Rivers.
Following the Companies environmental guidelines and to ensure long term robust economics the PFS project design was tailored to ensure that the Project would:
- Minimize water consumption
- Minimize the project’s footprint
- Minimizing energy usage
- Minimize dust emissions
- Minimize impact on local communities
- Adapted for areas of high seismic activity
- Workforce able to commute daily to the project site
- And to ensure that the project is economically robust
Testwork as part of PEA and PFS identified the following technologies that among others will help meet these requirements.
- High-Pressure Grinding Rolls (HPGR)
- Reduce water consumption
- Reduce energy consumption
- Reduce dust emissions
- Dry-stacked tailings
- Reduce water consumption by approximately 50% from thickened tailings
- Reduce the Project’s footprint
- Reduce risks associated to seismic events
- Transport by trucks and/or conveyors
- Eliminate the need for a dam wall
- Reduce the environmental risk by avoiding contact with ground water
The combination of these technologies can reduce our water consumption by approximately 60-70% when compared to the PEA
Diagram showing the PFS mineral processing stages
The engineering work for the PFS is continuing despite the COVID-19 restrictions. The main areas are related to the infrastructure layout with studies continuing for the:
Ongoing infrastructure layout
- Access road engineering
- Engineering design for the river diversion tunnel infrastructure
- Engineering design of electrical facilities and 220 kV power line
- Ongoing water procurement infrastructure trade-off study
The PFS will be published in Q4 2021.
Further information is available in our Our latest update presentation on the PFS is available here