Hochschild’s Ares Mine in Peru is expanding the size of its plant and has ordered five additional Gekko Systems’ InLine Leach Reactors (ILR5000 Batch Manual) to add to its two existing ILR5000s.
Once installed, Ares will have the largest intensive leach application worldwide. It is the first application on silver flotation concentrates.
Hochschild intends to increase metal production at the site, situated 4,900 metres above sea level in the Peruvian Andes, to capitalise on the current high price of silver and the recent expansion of its Explorador mining operation.
The underground mine is conformed by vein systems where the epithermal vein deposits represent gold and silver mineralisation of intermediate and low sulphidation type.
The veins are mined by conventional and mechanized (trackless) cut-and-fill breast stoping methods utilising both rockbolts and timber as support.
The processing plant has a current ore production capacity of 325 thousand tonnes per annum.
A separate additional plant has recently been installed for the processing of concentrate from the Selene unit into doré.
In 2006, Ares produced 2.7 million ounces of silver and 156 thousand ounces of gold.
Gekko product manager Nick Katsikaros is delighted with the order.
“It is our experience that the South American region is a leader in the adoption and successful application of new technology,” he said.
“The mining community is well educated, sites generally have strong operating skills and there is a positive attitude to change. Hochschild’s Ares mine is an excellent example. The technical and operating team have achieved excellent recoveries — over 99% – in a new application of a proven technology.”
Hochschild will benefit by having the capacity to produce metal doré on site, giving the company control on site over the entire process from mining through to the production of metal. It can sell the product as doré, eliminating the need to sell concentrate to a refinery.
Overall cost savings will be achieved through eliminating costs with selling concentrates including transport, insurance, security, payment timing and charges at the refinery.
Gekko’s ILR is said to be a proven metallurgical processing solution for producing silver from flotation concentrates and, as a result, increasing production outcomes. It is said to be the only intensive leach system that can effectively leach fine flotation concentrate.
n Mick Alsop
03 5339 5859
n Nick Katsikaros
Product Improvement Manager
03 5339 5859