Corriente has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Metso Brasil Industria e Comercio Ltda. to supply the major components of the processing facility at the Mirador copper-gold project in Ecuador. The LOI quotes an equipment package totaling over $27 million, which includes a crusher, SAG mill and ball mill. Signing of this critical LOI allows Corriente to stay on its path to complete construction of the Mirador project in late 2008 with commissioning by the end of the year.Ken Shannon, CEO of Corriente: “The availability of key mill components is one of the major bottlenecks facing new mine developments around the world. We are pleased to be able to reach reasonable economic terms with Metso and at the same time to be assured the equipment will be delivered to meet the scheduled mine start-up at the end of 2008.”Corriente, a copper-gold development company, is moving towards construction of a starter operation at its Mirador copper-gold operation. Corriente has completed an Environmental Impact Assessment for initial operations at Mirador and in May 2006 completed a major equity financing for the project. Corriente says “Mirador is one of the few new, sizeable copper projects available for near-term production” and it controls a 100% interest in over 60,000 ha located within the Corriente Copper Belt, Ecuador. So far three copper and copper-gold porphyry deposits have been discovered on the Belt: Mirador, Panantza and San Carlos, as well as the Mirador Norte prospect currently under development. Additional exploration activities are ongoing, as six additional exploration targets have been identified to date.Mirador has a completed feasibility study on a starter operation with a measured and indicated resource model of 346,968,000 t at an average grade of 0.62% Cu, 0.2 g/t Au and 1.6 g/t Ag (at an average cut off of 0.37% Cu). The project is forecast to annually produce some 60,000 t of copper, 32,000 oz of gold and 398,000 oz of silver during the first five years of production. The mine model indicates a 38 year mine life at a throughput of 25,000 t/d. The capital cost for the project is estimated at $195 million.As an indication of the growth potential of the project, Corriente has prepared an internal cash flow projection for an overall mine plan that allows for an expansion to a capacity of 50,000 t/d with construction underway in year five. This expansion would require a twinning of the concentrator and use the same infrastructure layout and the same pit model and geological resources as in the starter project feasibility study. The capital cost of the expansion is estimated to be about $100 million. www.corriente.com
Dr. Dirk Van Zyl, Director of the Mining Life-Cycle Center and Professor and Chair of Mining Engineering at the Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, University of Nevada, Reno has been chosen to receive the prestigious Dr. Adrian Smith International Environmental Mining Award. The award will be presented at the Industry Outlook Luncheon on Thursday, December 7, 2006 during the Northwest Mining Association’s (NWMA) 112th Annual Meeting.The award was created by TIMES Limited Managing Director Dr. Terry Mudder in conjunction with the Mining Journal and SRK Consulting, a firm in which Dr. Smith was a partner. The award will be presented by Mudder, along with Dr. Karen Hagelstein of TIMES. The award is for life- time achievement in the advancement of environmental stewardship and sustainability within the global mining industry. Van Zyl has been a pioneer in educating not only the public but consultants, government agencies, NGOs, mining personnel, and students.The award honours Smith’s incredible career and the lifetime achievement of professionals dedicated to the development and application of the principles of environmental stewardship in the mining industry worldwide. Smith pioneered innovative solutions and approaches on many mining projects throughout the world. The award, created in 1996, has only been awarded on three previous occasions. Dirk Van Zyl is the fourth recipient of the award. He has 30 years experience in research, teaching and consulting in tailings and mine waste disposal and heap leach design. He is one of the leading advocates on mining and sustainable development. Dirk was a key player in the Global Mining Initiative and the MMSD project that helped define and clarify the role of the mining industry in contributing to sustainable development in various settings on a global basis.He has more than 70 publications to his credit and has created and directed numerous short courses on heap leach design, mining environmental management and mine closure in the USA and abroad. He was responsible for organizing the first conference on the use of cyanide in the mining industry in the middle 1980s. The three previous recipients of the award were James Scott of Environmental Canada, Fred Fox, Director of Health, Safety and Environmental Quality for Kennecott Minerals, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto (that award presented by IM’s John Chadwick) and Gavin Murray of Sydney, Australia, formerly the Director of Environmental and Social Development at the International Finance Corp and Vice President of Sustainability for Placer Dome, Inc.