Iberian Minerals Corp. (TSX VENTURE:IZN) today announced the completion of the 30% expansion at its Aguas Tenidas mine in Spain and that it is now running the plant at the fully expanded rate of 6,000 tonnes per day of processed ores.
The mine and plant expansion were key parts of an overall $43M investment budget at Aguas Tenidas in 2010 designed to increase plant throughput, improve plant metallurgical performance and lower operating costs.
In upgrading the processing plant, improvements were made to increase circuit throughput and grinding mill performance, increase the capacity and performance of flotation circuits and increase tailings thickening capacity.
A second identical primary crusher which was already on site was refurbished and has been installed beside the operation's original crusher, and will be operational October 22nd.The original primary crusher will remain operational as a backup. Iberian has also added a secondary cone crusher which will reduce the ore feed size to the SAG mill to 45 millimeters and as such improve consistency and capacity in the grinding circuit.
Related upgrades outside the plant included the completion of a second deep cone thickener, to insure efficient tails management at the current expanded processing rate, and sized to meet any projected future production increase.
An expansion to the existing paste tailings facility (TSF) is currently underway which will be completed in Q1 2011. The expansion involves the raising of the TSF by 10 meters, which will increase the life of this facility by three years.
In order to meet the expanded processing capacity, new 40 tonne trucks have been ordered with two now operating on site. The 10 new trucks will replace the 14 current 32 tonne trucks giving increased capacity at lower cost.
The Company had previously (May 2010) negotiated a 7 day work week with the Aguas Tenidas union, which has yielded the increased development and mining capacity to meet the expanded plant processing rate now in place.
Development has been accelerated with the use of contract miners working alongside the Company's own teams.
The first secondary stopes are expected to be mined in November following several months of test work performed to date which has shown excellent results. Mining of secondary stopes will allow for lower development costs, as much of the waste rock that initially had to be brought up on surface will now be left underground.
Mr. Daniel Vanin, President & CEO of Iberian said: "With Aguas Tenidas now operating at the expanded design capacity, we are looking forward to seeing increased production numbers. We will continue to optimize the mine and plant, and work to lower our production costs. We will now be able to turn some of our focus towards exploration and planning of future development at the mine."
Iberian also reports that Trafigura Beheer B.V. ("Trafigura") has exercised warrants to purchase 22,000,000 registered shares of Iberian at a strike price of CA$ 0.52 per registered share for total cash proceeds of CA$ 11,440,000. Following the issuance of these registered shares Iberian will have a total of 360,055,865 registered shares issued and outstanding. Trafigura's ownership interest in Iberian will increase to approximately 49.2%.
Source: Iberian Minerals Corp.