Canadian gold miner Altaley has successfully made commissioning, pre-production, and construction progress at its Tahuehueto Gold Mine.
The first 500 tpd ball mill is in pre-production, and processing has been stabilised with the mill achieving ore throughput up to 350 tpd and averaging approximately 195 tpd over the past five days, said the company.
The company has previously said that Tahuehueto mine, located in Durango, México, is set to be one of the top 3 high-grade gold mines in production in Mexico.
It is Altaley's flagship asset, where over $ 30M has been invested between Exploration, Prefeasibility Study and Mine Development. A 1000 tpd processing plant is currently under construction, that will allow the project to begin commercial production by late 2022.
Mill throughput is estimated to remain at current levels over the next two weeks with crushing being handled with a provisional cone crusher while the permanent crushing circuit installation is being finalized and anticipated to be operational within the next two weeks and thereafter the ball mill throughput will be ramped up to capacity.
To date approximately 260 tonnes of bulk concentrated has been produced at Tahuehueto. Two shipments of approximately 30 tonnes each have been shipped to Trafigura for sale. These initial batches of concentrate were produced from low-grade ore on purpose as original feed testing at the ball mill start-up.
Revenue received from the 1st shipment was approximately US$42,000 paid for gold, silver, and lead. The second delivery payment is pending. Another 70 tons of concentrate is in the process of being shipped from Tahuehueto to Tepehuanes subsequently to be trucked and sold to Trafigura in the coming days. The Tahuehueto operations team estimate that there are approximately another 150 tonnes of concentrate available, drying on the mill patio and within the thickeners available to be filtered for drying on the patios.
The tailings storage facility is in the final stages of construction and expected to be ready to receive dry stack tailings within 45 days. Tailings currently being generated are being filtered and stored as additional backfill underground.
The Tahuehueto Laboratory is essentially ready to be operational and technicians are calibrating ICP and ancillary equipment expected to be fully operational over the next few days.
Installation of a second 500 tpd ball mill is scheduled over the next several months and the ompany anticipates the project will be able to commission this mill during Q4 2022 and ramp up production towards the mine's designed capacity of 1,000 tpd near the end of 2022.
"Although the commissioning phase of Tahuehueto's first ball mill has taken longer than anticipated, management is optimistic that most of the start-up issues are behind us and that the project will be able to maintain steady state production with the initial ball mill and thereby begin to increase Tahuehueto's concentrate sales and revenue over the coming months." states Ralph Shearing, CEO & President