The total production and purchases of Compañía Minera del Pacífico S.A. in 2011 were 12 million 26 thousand metric tons, of which 6 million 708 thousand metric tons relate to the production of Huasco valley, 3 millions 602 thousand metric tons to that of Elqui valley and 1 million 685 thousand metric tons to that of Copiapó valley. Purchases amounted to 31 thousand metric tons.
The following figures compare the production and purchases of 2010 with those of 2009, and total annual productions:
Total Production and Purchases 2011 – 2010
Magnetite Plant and Punta Totoralillo Port
The magnetite plant in 2011 processed 28 million 650 thousand metric tons from tailings of Compañía Contractual Minera Candelaria, with an average ore grade of fed Fe mag of 8.4%. In addition, from August to December it processed 63,641 tons of iron fines and since November has processed reject material from Los Colorados of 44,846 metric tons.
The operating time of the magnetite plant was 7,795 hours, the processing rate 197.9 tons/h and the production rate of ceramic filters for the year was 128 [MTbh/hrs].
The production of final concentrates in Punta Totoralillo port was 1 million 685 thousand metric tons, of which 1 million 276 thousand related to production from fresh tailings, 343 thousand to production from re-pulping and 66 thousand from concentrate originating from iron fines. The magnetite plant had an additional production of primary concentrate of 275 thousand metric tons.
Technical modifications and improvements were made in the magnetite plant during the year which, together with the maintenance programming, enabled the physical availability for the year to be 97%, with utilization of 91%. The physical availability of the port’s filtering plant was 97%. Two investments were made during the year. The first related to the construction and installation of an aqueduct for the supply of water to the process, being treated water bought from Aguas Chañar. The purpose was to ensure the availability of water for the operation as well-water reserves had descended dramatically during the year. The second investment was the transfer of tailings feed and final return ducts in the magnetite plant. This was necessary because Compañía Contractual Minera Candelaria increased the capacity of its dam which implied the expansion of the dam wall and therefore the movement of the feeding and return lines installed on the wall.
13 ships were loaded in 2011, totaling 1 million 606 thousand metric tons of final concentrates shipped from Punta Totoralillo port.
Finally, Minera Hierro Atacama obtained the certification of its integral management system in 2011 under the standards ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001. Punta Totoralillo port achieved its certification in August, while the magnetite plant did so in December.
Los Colorados Mine, Pellets Plant, El Algarrobo Mines and Guacolda II Port
The production of Los Colorados mine was achieved with a total movement of mine materials of 77 million 712 thousand metric tons, which included a feed to the plant of 10 million 563 thousand metric tons to produce 6 million 397 thousand metric tons of pre-concentrates in the crushing and concentration plant and 539 thousand metric tons of sinter feed.
The railway between Los Colorados mines and the pellets plant moved 6 million 150 thousand metric tons of pre-concentrates while trucks moved 655 thousand metric tons of pre-concentrates. Trucks also transported 58 thousand tons of pre-concentrates and 46 thousand of rejects to Minera Hierro Atacama.
The increased Huasco valley production project (APVH) was started in 2011 in the mine area, with two hydraulic shovels BE RH-340B, seven Cat 793F trucks, a Sandvik D75KS drill, a Cat 854K tractor, a Cat 834H tractor, a Cat D10T tractor and a Cat 773-FWT watering cistern. This new fleet will enable an increase in the annual mine movement capacity with own equipment from 55 to 84 million metric tons in order to carry out the pre-stripping required to increase the production of the APVH project. At the same time, an extraordinary program was developed for the selection and formation of operators and maintenance personnel.
In April, the assembly began of the plant to reprocess rejects from the processing plant in order to obtain a pre-concentrate for supplying the magnetite plant of MHA.
Another important activity was the end of the soundings campaign begun in 2010 for different purposes: categorizing resources within the pit, condemnation of the north dump area, geo-mechanical studies and precision grades.
In Huasco valley in 2011, the pellets plant operated the equivalent of 284.96 effective days, with an overall production of 5 million 547 thousand metric tons, which includes 2 million 335 thousand metric tons of self-fluxing pellets, 649 thousand metric tons of pellets for direct HyL reduction, 259 thousand metric tons of pellet chips and 2 million 304 thousand metric tons of pellet feed.
The production of the pellets plant was 119 thousand metric tons less than the year before. This was mainly due to the reprogramming of the production which was oriented to increasing that of pellet feed and special repairs made in the plant. This led to an average hourly pellet-production rate of 436.2 metric tons.
With respect to operating results, the feed of pre-concentrates into the mills was 6 million 321 thousand metric tons. The production of concentrates by mills was 5 million 179 thousand metric tons, producing a recovery in weight of 81.9%. The re-pulping plant produced 242 thousand metric tons of material concentrate recovered from spillages, dams and rejects of the sifting and milling plant.
The company maintained the exploitation of El Algarrobo mines in 2011, adjudicating the loading and transport works to third parties and the operation of the Algarrobito plant to IMOPAC Ltda. It also continued the exploitation of Cristales mine, works that were operated by third parties and the plant operation by IMOPAC Ltda. The production of both works totaled 622 thousand tons of lumps.
With respect to Guacolda II port, this attended 74 ships, of which 41 were destined to export markets and 33 to Compañía Siderúrgica Huachipato S.A.
El Romeral mines and Guayacán port
The production of El Romeral mines in 2011was 3 million 602 thousand metric tons of mineral, split as to 920 thousand metric tons of lumps, 830 thousand metric tons of fines and 1 million 852 thousand metric tons of pellet feed.
El Romeral mines’ production involved a total movement of material of 7 million 441 thousand metric tons, 14.5% less than the year before due to reduced feed to the plant and fewer plant rejects as a result of an improved recovery in weight of the minerals processed. This permitted a production of 3 million 870 thousand metric tons of lumps, fines and pre-concentrates in the concentrator plant and of 2 million 838 thousand metric tons of feed in the crushing plant to produce pellet feed.
The railway link between El Romeral mines and Guayacán port moved 3 million 475 thousand metric tons of minerals. Of this, 953 thousand metric tons corresponded to lumps, 639 thousand metric tons to fines and 1 million 883 thousand metric tons to pellet feed.
Guayacán port attended to 43 ships, of which 23 sailed to foreign ports and 20 were for Compañía Siderúrgica Huachipato S.A.