PERU - PHELPS DODGE of Phoenix, Arizona, has announced that the expansion at the Cerro Verde mine near Arequipa has begun producing copper concentrate from the mine's primary sulphide orebody. The first 9,500-t shipment was sold for processing to SUMITOMO METAL MINING, one of the major shareholders of the Cerro Verde mine.
The new concentrator associated with the expansion is operating but is not yet at full capacity. Full production is expected to be achieved during the first half of 2007. Once it reaches full production, the expansion will allow the mine to triple annual production from approximately 90,000 t of copper to 270,000 t. In addition, the expansion is expected to produce more than 1,800 t of molybdenum per year.
Through the expansion, approximately 1.0 billion t of sulphide ore reserves averaging 0.51% Cu will be processed through the new concentrator. The expansion will extend the mine's life by approximately 26 years.
Phelps Dodge (www.PhelpsDodge.com) owns 53.6% of the Cerro Verde mine. Sumitomo Metal Mining and Sumitomo Corp. together own 21%. COMPANIA DE MINAS BUENAVENTURA owns 18.5% and common shareholders own 6.9%.