Mine development news
Feasibility results for Aguablanca Base Metal Project
Rio Narcea Gold Mines, Ltd. has received positive results from the bankable feasibility study prepared by Metallurgical Design and Management (Pty) Ltd., for the development of the open pit portion of its Aguablanca Ni-Cu-PGE deposit in southwestern Spain. The study contemplates a nickel mine capable of producing about 10,000 tonnes of nickel in concentrate per year, which would equal about half of the European Union’s current annual nickel mine production. As a result, the company has proceeded with basic engineering contracts, off-take agreements and project financing concurrent with permitting.
Pueblo Viejo feasibility study launched
In mid-August, Vancouver-based Placer Dome Inc. launched a feasibility study on the Pueblo Viejo gold deposit in the Dominican Republic, following the ratification of its Special Lease Agreement.
Placer Dome has four years to reach a production decision, after spending US$10 million. A preliminary plan envisages annual gold production of 400,000 ounces using conventional and bioleach processing and a workforce of 350 to 450 employees, subject to feasibility. The government has placed the potentially exploitable sulphide resource at more than 14 million ounces of gold, which holds the potential for a 33-year mine life. The Dominican Republic would receive a combination of a net smelter return, a net profits interest and corporate taxes based on varying profit levels.
The Pueblo Viejo site presents an existing environmental challenge in the form of acid rock drainage from past operations. The oxide portions of the deposit were mined between 1979 and 1999. The government remains responsible for all historic environmental liabilities, while Placer Dome will assume responsibility for environmental effects resulting from its operations.