Candente to produce Canariaco feasibility in early 2009

Candente Resources expects to publish a feasibility study on its Canariaco copper project in Peru in early 2009, CEO Joanne Freeze told MB. The project is near Chiclayo in Peru`s Lambayeque department. The company has expanded the project scope, which has extended the timetable, and aims to receive a new resource estimate by mid-May that will provide the geological information to form the basis of the feasibility study.

An updated scoping study based on the new resource estimate, showing updated cash flow analyses and estimated capital expenditure, is expected by end-July. "We started the feasibility study on the basis of the first best 100 million tonnes, but we decided that was too small. The first idea for processing was leaching but we are now moving towards flotation because it has a higher recovery rate and we feel that leaching leaves too much copper on the table," she said.

Freeze said 90% copper recovery is possible with flotation, and that the company has been advised that an operation capable of processing 65,000 tpd of mineral could be developed for under $1 billion. A project of this size should yield an estimated 80,000 tpy of copper. The company, which aims for first production by late 2011, is open to advancing the project on its own or with a partner.

"If we are on our own, we will start smaller and ramp up after payback of capex, perhaps starting between 50,000 tpd and 65,000 tpd to get it into production and get cash flow. If we take on a partner, there could be other options," she said. The project could provide enough feed for an operation capable of processing as much as 120,000 tpd of mineral eventually, although Freeze said the capex of such a sized project would likely be "more than we wish to do alone". Candente was formerly looking at a leach and SX-EW operation that would process 30,000 tpd of mineral to produce 37,000 tpy of copper. Freeze said the company has received interest from copper smelters and traders around the world, including in Asia, that are interested in providing attractive investments to develop the project in order to secure copper concentrates.

Publication: Metal Bulletin
Provider: Metal Bulletin com
Date: April 14, 2008

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