Huaron is an underground polymetallic silver mine located in the department of Pasco, in the Peruvian central Andes. The mine was acquired by Pan American in 2001. Silver, zinc, lead, and copper mineralization is present as epithermal veins, mantos, and limestone replacements. The mining method is a combination of conventional cut and fill, mechanized cut and fill, and mechanized sub-level long hole stoping.
Ore is treated by crushing, ball mill grinding, selective flotation of the ore to concentrates, followed by thickening and filtering to produce silver in copper, lead, and zinc concentrates. The nominal mill capacity is 2,300 tonnes per day. In 2013 the mine milled 0.8 million tonnes of ore, producing 3.3 million ounces of silver, 14,000 tonnes of zinc, 5,800 tonnes of lead, and 3,400 tonnes of copper.
In 2013, Huaron produced 3.3 million ounces of silver. Silver production increased 14% from 2012 due to higher mill throughput partially offset by a decrease in ore grade. Huaron also produced 14,000 tonnes of zinc, 5,800 tonnes of lead, 3,400 tonnes of copper and 940 ounces of gold.
Huaron’s cash costs during 2013 were $14.61 per ounce of silver, net of by-product credits, 17% less than in 2012, thanks to the benefits of higher silver production and increased by-product credits as more quantities of base metals produced were enough to offset lower metals prices.
In 2013, Pan American invested $15.5 million in capital expenditures at Huaron. This was less than initially anticipated due to the rationalization of several discretionary capital projects in response to the decline in precious metal prices during the year. Capital expenditures in 2014 are expected to be reduced from the elevated levels of previous years as the intensive mechanization efforts are largely completed. Since 2012, the Huaron mine has substantially increased the use of mechanized sub-level long hole stoping and during 2013, the operation extracted more than 50% of the ore using this efficient mechanized mining method.
In 2014, Huaron is forecast to produce 3.40 to 3.50 million ounces of silver, 13,500 to 14,000 tonnes of zinc, 5,350 to 5,700 tonnes of lead, 3,350 to 3,550 tonnes of copper and 600 to 1,200 ounces of gold. Cash costs are expected to average $14.50 to $15.00 per ounce of silver, net of by-product credits.
The budget for sustaining capital expenditures at Huaron during 2014 is $9.5 million and it will be destined mainly to long-term mine developments, tailings dam expansion, equipment overhauls and replacements, as well as mine-site exploration.
Management estimates that the Proven and Probable mineral reserves at the Huaron mine, as at December 31, 2013, are as follows:
Huaron Mineral Reserves 1, 2, 3
|Reserve Category||Tonnes (Mt)||Grams of Silver per tonne||Contained Ag (Moz)||% Zinc||% Lead||% Copper|
1. Estimated using a price of $22 per ounce of silver, $1,850 per tonne of zinc, $1,950 per tonne of lead and $6,800 per tonne of copper.
2. Mineral Reserve estimates for Huaron were prepared under the supervision of, or were reviewed by, Michael Steinmann, P.Geo., and Martin G. Wafforn, P.Eng., as Qualified Persons as that term is defined in NI 43-101.
3. Numbers may not add due to rounding.
Management estimates that mineral resources at Huaron, as at December 31, 2013, are as follows:
Huaron Mineral Resources 1, 2
|Resource Category||Tonnes (Mt)||Grams of Silver per tonne||Contained Ag (Moz)||% Zinc||% Lead||% Copper|
1. These mineral resources are in addition to Huaron mineral reserves. Estimated using a price of $22 per ounce of silver, $1,850 per tonne of zinc, $1,950 per tonne of lead and $6,800 per tonne of copper.
2. Mineral resource estimates for Huaron were prepared under the supervision of, or were reviewed by, Michael Steinmann, P.Geo., and Martin G. Wafforn, P.Eng., as Qualified Persons as that term is defined in NI 43-101.
Mineral reserve estimates are based on a number of assumptions that include metallurgical, taxation and economic parameters. Increasing costs or increasing taxation could have a negative impact on the estimation of mineral reserves. There are currently no known factors that may have a material negative impact on the estimate of mineral reserves or mineral resources.
|Location||Pasco Province, Peru|
|Products||Silver rich zinc, lead, and copper concentrates|
|Deposit Type||Epithermal veins, mantos, and replacements|