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Worldwide Quarry Projects Focus on Southern Cone

  • Date Submitted: 10/12/2012 12:24 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 44.9 
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Countries in the Southern Cone show a real dance of millions with regards to mining investments, with several metallic and non-metallic projects positioned among the most important ones at world level. The world main mining machinery companies are strongly investing in copper, precious metals, and fertilizer projects, among other, which reflect the region attraction and potential.

The good moment the commodity industry is going through, driven by the favorable demand expectations from emerging countries to meet their development requirements has promoted this dynamism. This figure whirlpool not only corresponds to the large variety of greenfield projects and expansions being carried out, but also to two other key factors: the development of more and more complex deposits, with lower grade and/or of more difficult access, and the increase in prices of basic inputs such as energy, steel, and even engineering services and skilled human resources.

For instance, the Canadian company Barrick recently increased its investment estimates for future Pascua Lama gold sites and Cerro Casale from approximately US$3.2 billion to US$3.6 billion for the former, and from US$4.2 billion to near US$5.25 billion, for the latter. Manpower cost and commodity prices were part of the reasons mentioned.

Although a few years ago these figures would have made the concretizing of many of these mega-projects questionable, currently there are many mega-projects in the region whose costs are thousands of millions. The mining plan includes an open pit operation at 4,200 to 5,200 masl altitude, which will produce two types of materials: oxides and sulphides. These will be treated through conventional gold recovery methods, including flotation.

In Argentina, construction started at the end of 2010, and it is focused on dirt moving, opening of a tunnel, and the infrastructure –Amarillo camp– to accommodate around 3,000 persons during the construction stage. Last April, construction of...

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