14 International Mining JANUARY 2007
Galvanized for action
As world demand for zinc grows, particularly in Asia, zinc inventories are expected to hit
critically low levels in the second quarter of 2007, equal to two days of consumption.
A high price forecast is expected to cause a shift in market attitudes since zinc has exceed-
ed the $4,000/t price barrier. Sally Higgins investigates whether the supply-demand
deficit will continue to widen, examines some projects and considers relevant technologies
s a result of low stockpiles, the zinc
price forecast for 2007 has risen
from $1.48 to $2.06/lb according to
Scotia Capital’s recently updated zinc
outlook. The International Zinc and Lead
Study Group expects global demand for
refined zinc metal to increase by 2.6% to
11.35 Mt in 2007. Chinese demand is
forecast to rise by 4.7% in 2006 and 6.9%
in 2007, at which time it will account for
30% of total world zinc usage. After falling
steeply in 2005, demand in the USA is
expected to rise by 7% in 2006 but to
remain flat in 2007. Similarly in Europe, it is
anticipated that demand will rise by 3.4% in
2006 but remain unchanged in 2007.
It is predicted that world zinc mine output
will increase by 7.3% to 11.12 Mt in 2007,
influenced by a number of mine openings,
re-opening and expansions. Production is
expected to rise in a number of countries,
most notably Australia, China, Bolivia,
Canada, India, Kazakhstan and Portugal. An
expected increase in global refined zinc
metal output of 4.9% in 2007 will primarily
be driven by expansions in China where an
increase of 10% is forecast.
Additional production resulting from the
commissioning of Hindustan Zinc’s new
170,000 t/y capacity Chanderiya refinery in
2005 caused an increase in Indian output of
44% in 2006. Significant rises are also
anticipated in Kazakhstan and South Korea.
McArthur River Mining plans to convert from
underground to open pit at the McArthur River mine.
ZINC 17/12/06 1:16 pm Page 3
Document1 2/1/07 2:34 pm Page 1
16 International Mining JANUARY 2007
The increased availability of concentrates in
2006 and 2007, combined with rapidly
expanding smelter capacity, is expected to
result in a decrease in Chinese net imports
of refined zinc both this year and next.
Exports from the CIS are expected to rise as
production in the region is expanded.
Industry experts predict that demand for
zinc will exceed supply until at least 2010.
Anders Haker, Chief Financial Officer of
Lundin Mining, commented at Metal
Bulletin’s zinc seminar, “China and India are
at a very early stage of development, and I
assume these two economies will follow the
same pattern as consumption of zinc in the
US.” Haker forecasts that India’s zinc
consumption will increase considerably from
comparatively low levels of about 0.5 kg per
person. US per capita consumption is 3.5 kg
and South Korea’s is 8.8 kg. By 2010 it is
estimated that China will consume 2-4 Mt
and India will consume 1 Mt. The disparity
between supply and demand is illustrated by
Haker’s forecasted supply increase from
2006 to 2009 of 1.8 Mt, clearly
insufficient to close the gap.
Mount Burgess Mining
believes that world zinc output
would have to grow by 22%
on this year's production
estimate of 10.6 Mt to meet
expected demand by 2010.
Speaking at an African-
focused mining conference in
Perth on September 7,
Chairperson Nigel Forrester
said that new mine start-ups,
production upgrades and mine
closures would have to fill the
expected shortfall of 2.38 Mt. He said that
China would remain the driver for higher
zinc production globally.
“If China increases consumption by an
average 345,000 t/y to 4.8 Mt total by
2010, and the rest of the world increases
consumption by a modest 2%, total world
production within three years must reach 13
Mt,” Forrester said. He continued that stocks
and output would be at critical levels by
early in 2008.
“The decline has been evident over recent
years with London Metals Exchange stocks of
780,000 t in April 2004 dwindling 606,500 t
in just 27 months to 173,500 t by just a few
weeks ago.” He said it represented an
average daily decrease of 728 t/d over the
27 months and that it would worsen to
907 t/d this year.
Almost half of all demand for zinc is for
galvanizing steel to prevent it from rusting.
The largest consumer and producer of steel
is currently China, owing mainly to expanding
infrastructure. China accounts for 25% of
world zinc demand, which is one of the
contributing factors to the increase in the
price of zinc from $1,380/t in 2005 to
$4,000/t in 2006.
When compared to other base metals, zinc
has a relatively low level of supply from scrap
due to the difficulty in salvaging zinc layers
from steel. Out of a total supply of 10.5 Mt,
only 500,000 t of zinc are from scrap recovery.
National Australia Bank (NAB) has indicated
that speculative pressures will remain in
2007 and prices could continue to rise.
Whilst speculative demand has strengthened,
supply has not changed much due to the
long lead-time in getting new projects up
and running. Supply increases are forecast
for 2007, although metal prices will remain
high as the supply response
continues to be impacted by
higher costs of machinery, raw
materials and labour. NAB
suggests that the fundamentals
for zinc are the most favourable
of all the metals as demand
continues to exceed supply.
Canaccord Adams notes that
zinc oxide ores were the
primary source of zinc prior to
the development of the flotation
and smelting processes for sulphide
ores. With the modern development
of SX-EW technology and the
The feasibility study was completed in May 2006
for the Wolverine project. Currently, a review and
optimization study is underway and Yukon Zinc is
on a path to advance the Wolverine project to
construction in 2007 and production in 2008.
A new world leader
s IM went to press, on December 11, Umicore and Zinifex announced that they had signed a Memorandum ofUnderstanding (MOU)
with the objective of combining their respective zinc smelting and alloying businesses, leading to the creation of "the world’s pre-emi-
nent zinc metal producer with operations on four continents.”
The Zinifex assets to be contributed are the Hobart (Australia), Port Pirie (Australia), Clarksville (USA) and Budel (Netherlands) smelting and
alloying operations as well as its shareholdings in Australian Refined Alloys (Australia) and Genesis Alloys (China). The Umicore assets to be con-
tributed are the Balen (Belgium), Overpelt (Belgium), Auby (France) and GM Metal (France) smelting and alloying operations as well as its share-
holdings in Padaeng Industry (Thailand) , Galva 45 (France), Umicore Yunnan Zinc Alloys (China) and Föhl China (China). Combined, these enti-
ties produce some 1.2 Mt/y of zinc and zinc alloys. The jointly owned company is to be incorporated in Belgium, have its global headquarters
in London and have regional support centres in Melbourne (Australia) and Balen (Belgium).
Greg Gailey, CEO, commented that this gives Zinifex’s "refining and smelting business the opportunity to flourish as part of a stronger more
diversified global enterprise while at the same time enabling us to focus more clearly on our ambitions to vigorously grow our mining business.”
The two companies are committed to working together to complete final due diligence and structuring discussions over the next few months
with a view to signing a binding Business Combination and Sales Agreement (BCSA) by the end of the first quarter of calendar 2007. Subject
to required presentation to the works councils in Europe and the receipt of necessary regulatory and shareholder approvals, the new venture is
targeted to come into existence in the third quarter of calendar 2007.
ZINC 17/12/06 1:16 pm Page 4
TECNICAS REUNIDAS J07 17/12/06 10:05 am Page 1
modernization of the Walz technology for
treatment of zinc oxides, commercial interest
is expanding for non-sulphide zinc deposits.
The interest is largely the same as that for
acid leachable copper deposits. Recovery
using SX-EW requires lower energy, ideally
the process is environmentally simple, and
generating a final saleable zinc product cuts
out the costs associated with transportation
of concentrates and smelter charges. These
positives are contrasted by a few negatives
including a process that typically recovers a
single metal versus multi metal recovery
using flotation followed by pyrometallurgy.
Up front capital for zinc oxide operations
can be above average. One of the best
examples of a modern, successful zinc oxide
operation is Anglo American’s Skorpion mine
in Namibia. In September 2000, Anglo made
a production decision on Skorpion. Based on
capital requirements of $454 million the
operation now yields just about 150,000 t/y
of zinc at cash costs below $0.25/lb. This
makes it one of the lowest cost zinc
operations on the planet.
Australian expansion
Xstrata Zinc has successfully completed the
first stage of the project to upgrade and
expand the Mount Isa zinc concentrator. This
first stage of the project comprised increasing
the operating reliability of the old plant
through the installation of a new crushing
circuit and ore feed system, an enhanced
maintenance programme with special
emphasis on the heavy medium plant and
the recent commissioning of a new zinc
filter plant. This project also included a low
cost expansion of throughput capacity by an
additional 1.5 Mt/y of ore through the
installation of a parallel second hand milling
and flotation circuit acquired at a nominal
cost. The combined effect of the increased
operating reliability of the old plant plus the
new parallel circuit will increase the nominal
feed capacity of the concentrator to 6.5 Mt/y
of ore, which represents an improvement of
more than 40% over the feed rate achieved
in the first nine months of 2006.
The Lady Loretta zinc project, a joint
venture between Xstrata and Scarborough
Minerals, in northwest Queensland, is
currently the subject of a preliminary feasibility
study into a proposed 1 Mt/y mine and
concentrator. Xstrata has substantial zinc
mining and processing operations 150 km to
the south of Lady Loretta at Mount Isa. The
total resources have been reported as 13.6
Mt grading 17% Zn, 5.9% Pb and 97 g/t
Jabiru Metals says it “is well on the way
to becoming Australia’s next zinc and copper
producer with the Jaguar project construction
on track to begin concentrate production in
the June quarter 2007.” Refurbishment of
Cadjebut and Black Cat plants is nearing
completion and detailed engineering is
complete. Jaguar lies northwest of Leonora,
Western Australia. Current reserves are stat-
ed as 1.6 Mt at 3.1% Cu, 11.7% Zn, 0.72%
Pb and 120g/t Ag.
Terramin Australia operates the Angas
zinc project, 2 km outside the small town of
Strathalbyn, 60 km from Adelaide, South
Australia. The orebody outcrops under a
limestone quarry in a rural zone containing
two waste landfill dumps and effluent
treatment ponds. Current zinc resources in
three shoots are 3.04 Mt. Mining reserves
are currently 2.2 Mt. Feasibility studies and a
financial model for a 400,000 t/y under-
ground operation were completed in July
2006. Production is on track to start in
2007, producing 30,000 t of zinc and
10,000 t of lead, with significant gold and
silver credits.
Xstrata Zinc’s wholly-owned, McArthur
River Mining (MRM), has had approval for
it’s A$110 million development to convert
from underground to open pit operations at
the McArthur River mine located 900 km
southeast of Darwin, Northern Territory. The
approved open pit development will enable
MRM to continue to access one of the
world’s largest known deposits of zinc and
lead. It will increase annual ore throughput
from 1.6 to 1.8 Mt to maintain current levels
of concentrate production of around
320,000 t/y, and extend the life of mine by
25 years.
MRM exports feed to smelters in Poland,
Romania, Japan and China, producing 70%
of the world’s zinc-lead bulk concentrate.
MRM opened in 1995 and in August 2005,
MRM announced its intention to convert the
mine from an underground to an open-pit
operation to enable production to continue.
Since April 2006, MRM’s production has
18 International Mining JANUARY 2007
2002 2003 2004 2005 Jan-Aug 2005 Jan-Aug 2006
Europe 0.90 1.01 1.00 1.04 0.69 0.71
Africa 0.24 0.26 0.35 0.41 0.28 0.27
America 3.76 3.74 3.57 3.52 2.40 2.27
Asia 2.55 3.06 3.51 3.81 2.48 2.70
Oceania 1.44 1.45 1.30 1.33 0.89 0.87
World 8.89 9.52 9.73 10.11 6.73 6.82
Source: International Lead and Zinc Study Group
Zinc: mine production (Mt)
Wolfden Resources’ High Lake property in
Nunavut, Canada, includes two open pit
mines, one underground mine and a mill.
ZINC 17/12/06 1:17 pm Page 5
SANDVIK JAN 07 2/1/07 2:38 pm Page 1
been generated by an approved test pit as
underground operations have now ceased.
MRM has a measured and indicated ore
resource of greater than 120 Mt, equating
to over 85 years of production at current
Perilya has formally approved the development
of the Potosi mine, located 2 km from
Broken Hill in New South Wales. The
development of an exploration decline from
the base of the Potosi open pit to initially
access some 194,000 t of high grade ore
from Potosi North is expected to commence
in the March quarter 2007, with first ore
delivery expected in the September quarter
of 2007.
Capitalizing on existing infrastructure and
a highly experienced mining workforce at
Broken Hill, the project has very competitive
fundamentals and is expected to increase
zinc production from Broken Hill by about
10,000 t in the first year and by 35,000 t in
subsequent years. The resource is open in a
number of directions and there is good
potential to add further resources with the
planned drill programme. The company is
targeting an ultimate resource for the
project of at least 4 Mt at grades of 10-12%
Zn, 3-5% Pb and 40-50 g/t Ag.
Canadian developments
Yukon Zinc recently completed a feasibility
study on its Wolverine project in south-central
Yukon. The study demonstrates an estimated
production in the first three years of 33,342 t/y
of zinc, 3,577 t/y of copper, 3,399 t/y of
lead, 3.8 Moz/y of silver and 16,043 oz/y of
gold in the concentrates. A mine life of ten
years is predicted, which could be extended
an additional 4 years with the conversion of
inferred resources into mining reserves.
The mining licence for the Wolverine
deposit, 195 km northwest of Watson Lake
and 135 km southeast of the Ross River, was
granted at the beginning of December 2006
and provides for the development of a
1,500 t/d underground mine. The company
hopes for a production decision by early
2007. Ores will be processed by standard
flotation processes to produce silver and
gold-bearing zinc, copper and lead
concentrates to be sold primarily to metal
markets in Asia.
The measured and indicated resource
estimate is 4.46 Mt grading 12.14% Zn,
354.8 g/t Ag, 1.16% Cu, 1.69 g/t Au and
1.58% Pb. Inferred resources are 1.69 Mt
containing 12.16% Zn, 385.4 g/t silver,
1.23% Cu, 1.71 g/t Au and 1.74% Pb. The
diluted proven and probable mining reserves
based on the measured and indicated
resources total 5.2 Mt grading 9.71% Zn,
0.93% Cu, 1.26% Pb, 284 g/t Ag and 1.37
g/t Au.
In July 2006 Acadian Gold completed the
acquisition of 100% of the outstanding
shares of ScoZinc from HudBay Minerals.
ScoZinc’s principal assets are a modern mill
facility (the Scotia mine) and zinc-lead
deposits located at Gay’s River, Nova Scotia.
The company has completed a positive
feasibility study and is obtaining the
necessary regulatory approvals and financing
to make the transition to a producer in 2007.
The ScoZinc acquisition is the cornerstone of
the Scotia project, which also incorporates
some 7,800 newly staked mineral claims
covering 126,000 ha prospective for zinc.
The Getty zinc-lead deposit, a westerly
extension of the Scotia deposit, is located
700 m to the east. Based on a 1.5% Zn
equivalent cut-off grade, resources at the
Getty deposit were estimated at 4.5 Mt at
an average grade of 1.9% Zn and 1.3% Pb.
The Getty deposit resources are in addition
to the 5.24 Mt of measured and indicated
resources grading 4.1% Zn and 2% Pb and
1.8 Mt of inferred resources grading 3.1%
Zn and 1.1% Pb at the Scotia mine.
Scotia currently has a reserve sufficient for
five years of open pit production at 700,000
t/y and two and a half years of underground
production at 472,500 t/y. Future work
programmes will be designed to bring the
Getty deposit into NI 43-101 compliance
and ascertain development potential.
Wolfden Resources has submitted regulatory
applications for the construction and operation
of a base metal mine and mill at its 100%
owned High Lake property in Nunavut. The
High Lake project includes two open pit
mines, three underground mining areas and
a mill to process up to 4,000 t/d. It will also
include a tailings management facility.
The Amaqqut group of projects, several of
which rank amongst the highest-grade
undeveloped copper-zinc deposits in the
world, according to Wolfden, include the
20 International Mining JANUARY 2007
2002 2003 2004 2005 Jan-Aug 2005 Jan-Aug 2006
Europe 2.90 2.74 2.72 2.56 1.73 1.70
Africa 0.15 0.20 0.26 0.27 0.18 0.19
America 1.90 1.93 1.99 1.88 1.26 1.22
Asia 4.19 4.45 4.91 5.06 3.31 3.63
Oceania 0.57 0.55 0.47 0.46 0.30 0.29
World 9.71 9.87 10.35 10.23 6.78 7.02
Source: International Lead and Zinc Study Group
Zinc: metal production (Mt)
Canadian Zinc’s Prairie Creek includes a partially
developed underground mine with a 1,000 t/d
ZINC 17/12/06 1:17 pm Page 6
Document1 2/1/07 2:37 pm Page 1
Izok and High Lake deposits. Izok hosts an
indicated resource of 14.4 Mt at grades of
2.52% Cu, 1.28% Pb and 12.94% Zn, with
71 g/t Ag. High Lake has an indicated
resource of 17.25 Mt grading 2.25% Cu,
0.31% Pb, 3.35% Zn and 69.7 g/t Ag.
Canadian Zinc’s Prairie Creek mine in the
Northwest Territories reopened in May 2006.
The Prairie Creek project includes a
partially developed underground mine with
an existing 1,000 t/d mill and related
infrastructure and equipment. The property
hosts a major mineral deposit containing a
historically estimated resource of 3.6 Mt
(measured and indicated) grading 11.8% Zn,
9.7% Pb, 0.3% Cu and 141.5 g/t Ag and
8.3 Mt (inferred) grading 12.8% Zn, 10.5%
Pb, 0.5% Cu and 169.2 g/t Ag.
Full commercial production is expected in
mid-2007 at Breakwater Resources’ Langlois
mine in northwestern Quebec. A feasibility
study to reopen the mine, including a
technical solution for the ore pass problem,
was completed by SRK Consulting. The
project economics were reviewed again by
Breakwater late in 2005, concluding that,
based on a life-of-mine average price for
zinc of $0.53/lb, a copper price of $1.05/lb,
a silver price of $6.59/oz and an exchange
rate of US$0.80 per C$1.00 the project had
an internal rate of return of 16.6% based
on mining and milling the proven and
probable mineral reserves of 3.3 Mt at head
grades of 10.8% Zn, 0.8% Cu, 0.1 g/t Au
and 52.1 g/t Ag.
In 2005 HudBay initiated the re-opening
of its wholly-owned Balmat mine and
concentrator after completion of a feasibility
study. The mine’s concentrate production
will be treated at the Canadian Electrolytic
Zinc (CEZ) refinery near Montreal, some 158 km
from the mine. Balmat includes a 1,000 m
deep shaft, underground excavations to
access the ore zones, extensive mining
equipment and a 5,000 t/d ore concentrator.
Recovery of zinc to concentrate is expected
to be about 96%, producing a concentrate
containing roughly 55.5% Zn. At full
production in 2008, the mine is expected to
produce some 60,000 t of zinc metal in
concentrate and up to 40% of the Balmat
mine annual concentrate production, over
the life of the mine, may be swapped for
Xstrata concentrate and treated at HudBay’s
zinc plant in Manitoba.
Angus and Ross (A&R) has received the
Wardell Armstrong International (WAI)
resource report following four months of
drilling this summer at its Black Angel prospect
in Greenland. The drilling programme
established at least 1.9 Mt of additional
mineral resources around the Black Angel
mine. This additional mineral resource does
not include the 1.57 Mt of proven and
probable reserves of an average combined
Zn/Pb grade of 21.6% that remain in the
mine, as disclosed in WAI’s November 2005
prefeasibility report.
The Directors of A&R are considering a
number of options to re-open the mine.
They say that, subject to the availability of
project finance, it now seems likely that the
original A&R mining plan to develop the
project could be viable. This plan was to
construct roads and tunnels to connect the
old plant site and ship-loading facility with
the new satellite discoveries (Ark, Glacier,
and others yet to be drilled) and to re-establish
access to the former mine. A&R intends to
establish a pre-treatment plant in order to
upgrade the known high-grade Black Angel
mineralization. It would then be possible to
export pre-concentrated mineral to an existing
mill, or to re-establish a mill on site dependant
on the size of the mineral reserves and the
relative economics of the options. It is of
great benefit to the overall project economics
that a good part of the new resources at the
Glacier and Ark zones can be mined by open
pit methods. Fuller details of the project were
published in IM Project News, December 10.
South American assets
Production has started at Pan American
Silver’s 55%-owned San Vicente silver-zinc
mine in the Potosí department of the
Bolivian Andes. More than 20 bonanza type
silver-zinc veins are known to occur over an
area of 1.5 km on surface and extend to at
least 200 m in depth. Feasibility analysis and
engineering is continuing on a plan to
expand mine production and build a new
mill on the property.
Commercial production has begun at
Fortuna Silver Mine's Caylloma silver-zinc-
lead mine in southern Peru. Ore is currently
22 International Mining JANUARY 2007
2002 2003 2004 2005 Jan-Aug 2005 Jan-Aug 2006
Europe 2.75 2.79 2.82 2.68 1.78 1.88
Africa 0.19 0.17 0.19 0.20 0.14 0.13
America 2.02 1.95 2.12 1.90 1.27 1.34
Asia 4.15 4.66 5.24 5.60 3.60 3.77
Oceania 0.27 0.27 0.26 0.26 0.18 0.18
World 9.38 9.84 10.65 10.63 6.96 7.30
Source: International Lead and Zinc Study Group
Zinc: metal consumption (Mt)
The mill at Caylloma has a capacity of 700 t/d,
which Fortuna aims to achieve in May 2007.
ZINC 17/12/06 1:19 pm Page 7
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24 International Mining JANUARY 2007
being processed at a rate of 500 t/d. An
increase in mill throughput to 700 t/d is
expected in May 2007. Fortuna made its
first shipment of silver-lead and zinc
concentrates from Caylloma at the
beginning of November 2006.
Apogee Minerals has begun planning and
implementing operational improvements at
the 100% owned La Solucion mine located
17 km from Bolivia’s capital city, La Paz. It is
also in the midst of a 33,500 m
diamond drilling programme to delineate
potential mineral resources at its Bolivian
silver-lead-zinc projects where exploration
programmes in the first half of 2006 located
oliden’s Tara Mines in Ireland is the biggest zinc producer in
Europe and the sixth largest zinc mine in the world. It became
part of Boliden Group on January 1, 2004. It is a high cost pro-
ducer so over the past three years the new management has been find-
ing ways to cut costs.
One very successful change has been in the concentrator where
Tara was struggling with two different filter systems which were
costing too much in both energy and maintenance time.
The solution has been two new Metso Minerals VPA pressure
filters in the zinc circuit. These two are of the size VPA 1530-60,
which have 60 chambers with a 1.5 m chamber frame size with 30
mm deep chambers. Concentrate slurry is pumped from the zinc
thickener to a surge tank and thence to the Metso filters. Thomas
Sundqvist, Mill Manager at Tara, explained that in Sweden, Boliden’s
mines had good experience with these filters, and in fact had helped
developed the system. Each unit goes through five cycles an hour,
for a total throughput of 90 t.
These units were installed in August 2006. Calculating for the sav-
ings in fuel, maintenance labour and downtime, Tara expects to pay
for them in less than two years. The lead circuit still uses a vacuum
filter, but that is to be replaced this year by two more Metso
Minerals’ VP pressure filters.
These VP pressure filters bring together high performance and a
high degree of automation at low cost. They feature:
x Light weight construction, with machined polypro-pylene filter
x Compact design with pulling hydraulic cylinders for a reduced
x A one-minute filter cloth change operation
x Available in several pressure ratings for differ-ent applications
x Few moving parts for low maintenance and high availability.
Metso supplies the complete system:
x Slurry thickener with automatic discharge
x Feed slurry buffer tank
x Flow and density meters for filter feed
x Slurry feed pump and cloth wash water pump and tank
x Compressed air system
x Product weighing system for production monitoring
x Filter cloth damage detector
x Process controller for complete automatic operation
x Service platform
The Pressure Filter is the heart of the system and is available in two
basic versions VPA and VPC.VPA means Vertical Plate Airblow and
designates the filter with compressed air dewatering of the filter
cake. VPC means Vertical Plate Compression and is the unit with
high pressure membrane dewatering of the filter cake.
Filter Cloth Support
Upper Rails
Cloth Wash Spray Bars
Parallel Hydraulic Cylinders
Filter Cake Discharge Chute
Moving Head
Load Cells
Fixed Head
Cost savings filter through
The operating pressure
of VPA units is usually
7-10 bar and they are
the standard machine
for dewatering mineral
Membranes are inflated
with compressed air.
Cycle time can often be
as short as 6 minutes.
ZINC 17/12/06 1:21 pm Page 8
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Terex Construction
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TEREX J06 17/12/06 9:04 am Page 1
significant high grade silver, lead, zinc and
locally, gold mineralization.
La Solucion has been producing for the
past 14 years with an ore processing capacity
of 120 t/d and an existing flotation mill that
produces zinc and lead concentrates.
Apogee says the production facility is in
good operating condition. However, the
mine has received little capital investment in
the past 10 years. The previous operators
focused on zinc and have used antiquated
non-mechanized mining methods, while
mine planning and grade control have been
non-existent, and safety practices poor.
There has been virtually no exploration in
the past ten years prior to Apogee beginning
its diamond drilling in 2005. As a result, both
mining efficiency and ore grades realized in
production have suffered. Very recent production
under previous ownership has averaged over
2,300 t/month of ore and grades have
averaged 49 g/t Ag, 4.5% Zn, and 1.3% Pb.
Recently, Apogee intersected additional
significant, very high grade silver-zinc-lead
mineralization on the Hampaturi vein south
extension, adjacent to La Solucion. Vice
President of Exploration, Doug Currie,
stated, “These further positive results solidify
our view that the vein systems at La
Solucion host the potential to define a
significant silver-zinc resource.”
Cia Minera San Juan (CMSJ), the wholly-
owned subsidiary of Gold Hawk Resources,
has received a formal resolution from the
Peruvian Ministry of Energy and Mines,
lifting the ‘stop work order’ on the
Tamboraque concentrator, which was issued
in November 2002 to the previous owner.
This is a very significant step in the process
of re-starting production at the Tamboraque
mine in Huarochiri Province, in Peru’s Central
Andes. It is now expected that the mill will
start-up in February 2007 and
be in full production at 600 t/d
in April 2007.
Tamboraque has been exploited
almost continuously from
colonial times. In addition to the
conventional treatment of silver-
lead-zinc ores, advances in
bioxidation of sulphide ores
allowed the owners to expand
production to 600 t/d from 200
t/d and treat refractory gold
minerals contained in arsenopyrite.
The concentrator produces lead,
zinc, pyrite and arsenopyrite
The mineral resources in Tamboraque are
652,818 t of measured and indicated
resources averaging 0.209 oz/t Au, 6.46 oz/t
Ag, 3.18% Pb, 3.85% Zn and 0.44% Cu.
These resource estimates are from the
Constancia and Wellington veins. In addi-
tion, the total inferred resources, including
all other mineralized veins, was estimated to
be 3.9 Mt averaging 0.170 oz/t Au, 8.40
oz/t Ag, 2.56% Pb, 3.12% Zn and 0.35%
The development of Apex Silver Mines’
San Cristobal silver-zinc-lead project in
southwestern Bolivia is almost complete. With
major structural foundation and equipment
fully installed, the primary crusher should be
in position to receive ore in January 2007.
The conveyor structure and idlers are in
place for the 1.5 km overland conveyor.
With the imminent installation of the conveyor
belt and the requisite electronic equipment,
it should be fully operational by 2007. In
September 2006 Sumitomo earned a 35%
interest in San Cristobal.
Mining activities are advancing to provide
ore feed by the time the concentrator is fully
operational. Two new CAT 789 200 t
haulage trucks are in service and some 15.1
Mt of material have been moved. Eight
more 200 t trucks, two PC 4000 Komatsu
shovels and a CAT 994 loader are scheduled
for delivery in late 2006 and early 2007. The
project remains on schedule to commence
operations in the third quarter of 2007.
In the first five years of operation,
based on the designed 40,000 t/d ore
throughput, San Cristobal is expected to
produce about 16.9 Moz of payable silver,
225,000 t of payable zinc and 82,000 t of
payable lead. It has a projected 16 year
mine life.
More from Mexico
Constructora Necaxa has been selected as
the contractor to complete the underground
access decline to the G-9 deposit at Farallon
Resources’ Campo Morado property in
Guerrero State. Site preparation began in
August. The decline development is part of a
larger programme, encompassing under-
ground and surface drilling, engineering,
infrastructure and environmental studies.
The objective is to advance G-9 through the
feasibility stage toward production. Access
to the G-9 deposit and the drill stations for
underground infill drilling will require the
excavation of a 4.5 by 4.5 m exploration
decline some 1,400 m in length.
An exploration decline of this size could
subsequently accommodate production of
1,500 t/d. The ability to use this decline in any
future mine development would significantly
expedite the start of production. Preliminary
studies indicate 1,500 t/d to be an appropriate
production rate for G-9’s current inferred
resource base of 5.6 Mt at 2.8 g/t Au, 186
g/t Ag, 1.3% Cu, 1% Pb and 7.3% Zn at a
zinc cutoff grade of 2% Zn.
Dia Bras Exploration registered a record
9,113 t in September, to close the third
quarter of 2006 with 23,588 t processed
and $7.2 million in concentrate production
value at its Bolivar mine pilot-mining
programme in Chihuahua State. Recoveries
at the Malpaso mill averaged 91.96% for
zinc and 85.96% for copper resulting in a
production of 3,504 t of zinc concentrate
and 1,497 t of copper concentrate during
the third quarter. Direct operating costs for
the quarter, including shipping of
concentrate, amounted to $2.7
Baja Mining has completed the
first 20,000 m of the current
+38,000 m in-fill drill programme
at its El Boleo copper-cobalt-
manganese-zinc project located
near Santa Rosalia, Baja
California Sur. This will meet the
requirements for completion of
the definitive feasibility study
(DFS) scheduled for completion in
the fourth quarter of 2006. The
samples from this drill
programme are being assayed on
an expedited basis.
26 International Mining JANUARY 2007
Apogee Minerals has begun planning and
implementing operation improvements at
La Solucion.
ZINC 17/12/06 1:22 pm Page 9
Operations in:
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• Czech Republic
• Germany
• India
• UK
• Ukraine
• Poland
• Russia
• Slovakia
• Spain
• South Africa
• Switzerland
• People’s Republic of China
Solutions from Materials Technology
Minova International Ltd.
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Oxon OX7 5SR
Contact +44 1608 649 355 or visit our website
Unearthing the right solution
Fluent in the international language of mining
Our engineers have one overriding aim: to develop, refine and implement
the innovative systems that improve safety at the same time as increasing pro-
ductivity and cost efficiency. Day in and day out, they delve deeper to discover
more about the problems Minova customers face and the products needed to
overcome them.
Our ability to integrate local knowledge with global resources allows us to call
upon the very best people almost anywhere in the world where their expertise
is most needed. Wherever they go, they speak the same language as their cus-
tomers – the international language of mining. It’s this fluency gained over
three decades that allows us to go further by challenging convention and
uncovering the very best solutions.
• Roof bolting
• Membranes
• Ventilation seals
• Backfill
• Injection resins
• Roadway support
Document1 2/1/07 2:41 pm Page 1
The measured and indicated resource is
223.8 Mt at 1.63% Cu equivalent and an
inferred resource of 310.3 Mt at 1.47% Cu
equivalent. The projected mine life is at
least 20 years producing up to 50,000 t/y
copper cathode, 1,850 t/y cobalt cathode,
23,000 t/y zinc sulphate and possibly
100,000 t/y manganese carbonate.
Exploring Africa
Kumba Resources has asked the DRC to
guarantee its property rights before the
company restarts its Kipushi lead-zinc-silver
28 International Mining JANUARY 2007
Maturity of ZINCEX™ SX
ustavo Díaz, Research & Development Division Director of
Técnicas Reunidas, Spain reoports that “after three years of
developing studies, engineering and construction; the verti-
cally integrated Skorpion Zinc mine and refinery has been smoothly
producing SHG zinc since the first of May 2003. Técnicas Reunidas
(TR) proprietary modified ZINCEX™ process is the core technology
used in the refinery. Ramping up took about one year and a half.”
The Skorpion plant is currently feeding the market with a steady
150,000 t/y of SHG zinc. From the technical point of view, he says,
“three years of successful operation of the Skorpion plant is the con-
firmation of the strong maturity reached by ZINCEX solvent extraction
technology. A conceptual process diagram is depicted in the figure,
which can be applied to any impure raw material thanks to the ultra-
purification ability of the solvent extraction circuit; which separates
the dirty leaching upstream unit from the
extremely sensitive to impurities electrowin-
ning unit.”
The process has demonstrated its capaci-
ty to get rid of all the impurities: chlorides
and fluorides, alkaline metals such calcium
and magnesium, and the standard heavy
metals such as cobalt, nickel, copper and
cadmium, which impair EW performance.
SX has proven its reliability and robustness
as well as it flexibility to cope with wide
oscillations in Pregnant Liquor Solution (PLS)
There are several mining projects under
development which have considered
ZINCEX SX as core technology to treat oxide
materials of the same family of Skorpion
ore. Mineralogy is based on silicated, carbonated, oxidized and
hydrated materials such as sauconite, willemite, hemimorphite,
smithsonite, zincite, hydrozincite, etc. Those ores are unable to be
treated by the conventional roasting-leaching-EW process due to low
grade, silica, solid-liquid separation and impurity problems.
In Mexico there are two projects under development. These are
Sierra Mojada in which ZINCEX SX has been implemented to produce
150,000 t/y of SHG zinc from a concentrated oxide ore and Terrazas
in which 75,000 t/y of SHG zinc will be produced from a PLS coming
from heap leaching and a copper SX plant.
In Iran there are two projects as well. The first is Zanjan zinc refin-
ery, which is fed with oxide ore from Angouran mine to produce
100,000 t/y zinc. The second is Mehdiabad mine and zinc refinery for
a capacity in the range of 300,000 t/y zinc of which a quarter will
come from oxide and three quarters from sulphide ores. It is note-
worthy in that ZINCEX will be used for zinc recovery and purification
of the PLS from the sulphide zinc concentrate leaching line.
There are some more projects worldwide that are considering this
technology. Spain, Brazil, Turkey, Peru and India each host one at least.
The ZINCEX SX process produces the highest quality electrolyte
reported all over the world, Díaz explains. “It shows the lowest con-
centration of every impurity compared with existing information of
electrolytes coming from conventional process.” Magnesium report-
ed at several g/litre is at the mg/litre level in ZINCEX. Furthermore
ZINCEX electrolyte is gypsum-, chlorine- and fluorine-free. As a con-
sequence this electrolyte is the most suitable to get the highest per-
formance from the EW process.
The technology can be applied to peculiar sulphide ores containing
high levels of manganese or other impurities. Once the zinc is dis-
solved by pressure leaching, atmospheric oxidative leaching, bio-
leaching, etc then ZINCEX SX purifies and concentrates for feed to
the zinc EW tank house.
In the same way, marginal but valuable materials such as low grade
concentrates, old and fresh tailings, and ROM can be treated using
heap leaching, bioleaching, etc to produce a solution containing zinc
Finally secondary materials such as, for instance, electric arc fur-
nace dust, any sort of fumes, and impure
zinc oxide concentrates (Waelz type) can
be also treated in the same way by any
process which leads to an impure solution
containing zinc; to which the same SX
approach applies.
As a result of these works TR now has
the know-how to apply ZINCEX SX tech-
nology to PLSs deriving from a variety of
upstream processes and raw materials. A
wide range of zinc concentrations from 5
to 150 g/litre in the feed solution can be
managed by customized process design
and proper selection of operating condi-
Díaz concludes that “a very promising
future has been opened by the combina-
tion of Skorpion’s successful project and the ZINCEX technology
Skorpion plant view
ZINC 18/12/06 11:10 am Page 10
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Document1 2/1/07 2:48 pm Page 1

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