The expansion of the Proyecto Riotinto mine to 15-million tonnes a year is about to be finalised, paving the way for the Spain-based copper operation to increase production to between 50 000 t/y and 55 000 t/y in 2020.
Mechanical completion was expected in the “next few weeks”, Aim- and TSX-listed Atalaya Mining said on Thursday, reporting that the new flotation and concentrate handling areas were finished and operational, while the new primary crushing area was mechanically finished with commissioning under way. In the new milling area, mechanical activities were progressing and would be completed in the coming weeks.
"With the mechanical completion of the Riotinto expansion and modernisation project expected imminently, the company will progressively increase the level of copper production during the remainder of the year. Completion of the project on time and on budget is an excellent outcome for the company and continues to demonstrate its operational capabilities,” commented CEO Alberto Lavandeira in the company’s second-quarter operations update.
Riotinto's June quarter production was 10 888 t, a 4.2% increase on the prior-year period, with 2.6-million tonnes of ore being processed at an average copper head grade of 0.48% and a recovery rate of 88.72%.
In comparison with the first quarter of 2019, copper production has increased 6.5% as a result of higher throughput and better grades.
Atalaya said that its 2019 guidance for copper production of between 45 000 t and 46 500 t remained unchanged and so does its guidance for 2020.