Sierra Metals’ expansion plans at the Bolivar mine, in Mexico, are on track, the company reported in a statement on Wednesday.
The company last year announced plans to achieve a sustainable and staged increase in mine production and mill throughput from 3 000 t/d to 3 600 t/d by the first quarter of this year, and to 5 000 t/d by mid-2020.
Completion of the expansion included the installation of a refurbished mill, an electrical substation with 1 250 kVA of capacity, a secondary crusher and a hydrocyclone cluster that allows for finer grind size optionality that is estimated to improve copper recoveries at Bolivar from 80% to 86%.
The expansion was completed with zero lost time incidents and zero accidents reported.
The company used local engineering firms and local qualified contractors and technicians for the expansion project, with Sierra Metals staff conducting most of the supervision.
“The expansion at Bolivar represents the first of many exciting milestones for Sierra Metals in 2019 as we continue toward our goal of creating additional value for the company and its shareholders. This expansion will contribute a 20% increase in production rates, an increase in copper recoveries and a decrease in costs per unit,” Sierra Metals president and CEO Igor Gonzales commented.
With increased production capacity at Bolivar, the company is maintaining focus on its brownfield exploration programme and the importance of continuing to add to its reserves and resources.
“With the discovery of future resource additions, we believe this expansion will allow for potential new copper pounds discovered to be incorporated into production plans earlier than if the company had maintained a lower capacity level.”