In the third quarter, Capstone Copper experienced a 12% decrease in output as a result of unplanned maintenance at its largest producing mine. The mine was shut down for eight days, leading to a decline in copper production from 45,700 tons to 40,300 metric tons compared to the previous year.
Impact of Mantoverde Development Project
The lower oxide production at Mantoverde due to a transition to sulphide ore for the Mantoverde Development Project contributed to the decline. The mining sequence resulted in a lower ore grade, impacting copper production.
Maintenance Issues at Pinto Valley
Pinto Valley, another key mine for Capstone Copper, also faced maintenance challenges during the quarter. Unplanned maintenance downtime for the secondary crusher jack shaft replacement and counter shaft repairs led to approximately eight days of downtime. As a result, copper output at Pinto Valley dropped by 3% to 13,600 metric tons.
Challenges at Mantos Blancos Mine
The third-quarter copper production at Mantos Blancos Mine witnessed an 11% decrease from the previous year, totaling 12,200 metric tons. This decline was primarily driven by lower dump throughput, grade, and recoveries that impacted cathode production.
The concentrator plant at Mantos Blancos Mine faced six days of planned repair and maintenance, which caused mill downtime and affected throughput. Currently, the focus at Mantos Blancos is on achieving the installed capacity of 20,000 metric tons per day. To enhance plant stability, the company is implementing improved maintenance and optimization strategies for the concentrator and tailings system.
During the third quarter, significant progress was made in addressing bottlenecks in the crushing and grinding area of the operation.
Capstone Copper remains committed to overcoming these challenges and ensuring reliable and efficient operations across its mines.
Exciting Developments at Mantos Blancos Mine
The Mantos Blancos mine is set for a promising future with the delivery and installation of new handling and pumping infrastructure in early 2024. These crucial components will enhance the tailings dewatering area and contribute to the mine’s consistent delivery of nameplate throughput rates.
Once the mine reaches its nameplate capacity, we will explore opportunities to further increase the throughput of the Mantos Blancos sulphide concentrator plant. Utilizing both existing process infrastructure and innovative technologies, we aim to achieve a daily production rate of at least 27,000 metric tons. Additionally, we are actively evaluating strategies to extend the life of our copper cathode production.
Impressive Progress at Mantoverde Mine
In the third quarter, copper production at the Mantoverde mine experienced a 26% decline, amounting to 8,600 metric tons. This decrease was primarily due to lower solubility ratios of processed minerals and mining sequence challenges. However, higher heap throughput partly offset these factors, resulting in an overall decrease in grade recoveries.
Advancements in the Mantoverde Development Project
We are excited to report that the Mantoverde Development Project (MVDP) is progressing remarkably well. As of September 30, 2023, it stands at an impressive completion rate of approximately 93%. Meeting our timelines, the project is on track to conclude construction by year-end, followed by a six-month ramp-up period to reach nameplate production levels in 2024.
Steady Copper Production at Cozamin Mine
During the third quarter, copper production at the Cozamin Mine totaled 5,900 metric tons—a slight decline from 6,400 tons in the previous year. This decrease can be attributed to lower mill throughput levels.
Promising Outlook for Capstone Copper
Looking ahead, we reaffirm our commitment to achieving our second-half copper production guidance, targeting a range of 83,000 to 93,000 metric tons. With the ongoing development projects, technology advancements, and diligent operational management, we are confident in the bright future of Capstone Copper.