TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Goldcorp, Canada's second-biggest gold miner, has declared commercial production at its big new Penasquito gold/silver/zinc/lead mine, in Mexico.
The first zinc and lead concentrates were produced at Penasquito almost a year ago, but Vancouver-based Goldcorp has waited until the second 50 000-t/d mill and flotation line was up and running to declare commercial production.
The operation is now running at a combined 30-day average throughput rate of more than 70 000 t/d, and has hit peak daily throughputs of as high as 105 000 t.
Goldcorp now expects to complete construction of the 30 000-t/d high-pressure grinding roll circuit early next month, and will then ramp up to full production of 130 000 t/d at Penasquito early in 2011.
The company said that it is on track to meet its production guidance of 180 000 oz from the operation this year.
“Peñasquito has achieved every significant operational milestone on schedule, culminating in today’s declaration of commercial production,” said COO Steve Reid.
“Concentrates from both process lines are now being routinely produced and sold as expected to our smelter partners around the world.
Over its 23-year mine life, the Penasquito operation is expected to produce an annual average of 500 000 oz of gold, 28-million ounces of silver, 450-million pounds of zinc, and 200-million pounds of lead, at net negative by-product cash costs.
However, the company also plans to develop a "satellite network" of smaller mines to feed into the larger operation, including the Camino Rojo project that Goldcorp acquired earlier this year by taking over junior Canplats, as well as its own Noche Buena discovery.
A scoping study on Noche Buena is due by the end of this year.
Goldcorp has mines in Canada, Argentina, the US, Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala.
Earlier this month, the company signed an agreement to buy junior Andean Resources, for its gold/silver project in Argentina.
The friendly acquisition agreement beat out another bidder, Eldorado Gold, which then said last week it would withdraw its proposal for Andean.
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