PERU – Peru’s state investment promotion agency PROINVERSIN anticipates holding the auction for its giant La Granja copper property in fourth quarter 2005, said ProInversin mining co-ordinator Jorge Merino. “We have not approved the bidding rules or the schedule yet, but we estimate that we can offer this project in the fourth quarter of this year,” he said.
The auction had previously been penciled in for third quarter 2005.
The La Granja project in Chota province, Cajamarca department, has proven reserves of 1.2 billion tonnes grading 0.65% Cu. Geological resources are estimated at 2.5 billion tonnes of 0.56% Cu, according to ProInversin. The project was previously explored by Canada’s CAMBIOR and Anglo-Australian BHP BILLITON and has seen more than 100,000 m of drilling.
ProInversin plans to offer La Granja under an option to conduct metallurgical testing. The project’s main challenge is to find an economically feasible technology to treat the high arsenic content of the ore.
ProInversin is working with authorities and communities in the area to ensure local approval and participation in the project, said Merino.
The 12 companies that pre-qualified for the auction of Las Bambas copper project in August 2004 automatically pre-qualify for La Granja.
Meanwhile the auction of Michiquillay copper project in Cajamarca province, where talks with the community are less advanced, is likely to take place in the first quarter of 2006, according to Merino.
Explored previously by U.S. company ASARCO and Japan’s MICHIQUILLAY COPPER, the deposit has seen 41,600 m of drilling and 2,500 m of underground development. Mineral “reserves” total 544 million tonnes grading 0.69% Cu, 0.1-0.5 g/t Au and 2-4 g/t Ag, using a cutoff of 0.4% Cu, according to ProInversin.