Polar Star Mining has started the production of gold and copper at the Chépica epithermal mine, central Chile.
The mine, tailings facility and the process plant are being renovated by the company since May 2011. Polar star has re-engineered the present equipment in order to optimize metal recovery and increase throughput.
The company has started the last commissioning stage of the floatation circuit, crushers and ball mill during October, 2011 and completed the same, after which the plant began functioning round the clock.
Polar Star altered the flow sheet and the current plant during the revamp. The potential of the crushing circuit was doubled and the ball mill’s nameplate capacity was increased from 200 to 250 tpd due to the addition of sophisticated equipment.
The adding of a Falcon concentrator in the recovery section will result in removal of free, which is more than 50% of contained gold obtained from initial test work. The company will employ gold shaking tables for final cleaning and doré will be produced from the smelting of the recovered free gold. The dore will be sent to North America for refining process and to be sold at existing market rates.
Polar Star has included a filter press and four thickeners to improve the gold-copper concentrate recovery. The primary throughput of the mine is focused at around 5,000 t per month, having production plan of 1,000 oz gold and 50,000 lb copper monthly. Polar star aims at doubling the production during 2012. Alteration in crushing circuit and the new additional plant have assisted the goal by ensuring cost reductions and time savings.
A second portal access has been opened at the north part of Vein No. 1, by the mine operation in order to meet the plant’s ore demand. Wide gold-copper vein systems, which enclose the renovated process plant, are being appraised by geologists for discovering priority targets for brownfield exploration in 2012.