Mexico-focused gold miner Altaley Mining Corporation has started pre-production mining and mill commissioning operations at its Tahuehueto Gold Mine in Durango, Mexico.
The company said construction efforts at the mine site have advanced to allow the startup and commission of one ball mill capable of processing up to 500 tpd.
"I am very excited to see Tahuehueto commencing pre-production activities and look forward with anticipation to our first concentrate deliveries, anticipated in several weeks, which will bring our Company its first revenue from the new, on-site Tahuehueto mineral processing facility" states Ralph Shearing, CEO, "The Tahuehueto gold mine coming on-line is the realisation and delivery to shareholders of the Company's major goal of reaching production on its flagship asset. The robust cash flows anticipated from Tahuehueto should allow us to accelerate our debt repayments; our cash flow modeling suggests all loan debt may be repaid in under two years. We will also re-initiate exploration activities to expand reserves and resources, which exploration I am convinced, can unlock the hidden, undiscovered ultimate potential of this district-scale project allowing mine expansion and extension to the current life of mine." Listen to Ralph's interview with Proactive Investors as he describes the milestone event at Tahuehueto.
Tahuehueto's processing facility is operational allowing for milling up to 500 tpd with flotation cells, concentrate thickeners and concentrate filters successfully tested and operational.
During the commissioning phase of the first ball mill, a bulk concentrate will be produced and as soon as possible thereafter, the company will process a separate precious metal rich lead concentrate and a zinc concentrate. Copper concentrate production is planned to be initiated late 2022.
Electrical power generation is being supplied by Aggreko International Power Projects Limited who have installed power generation equipment capable of supplying power to the mining unit for 1,000 tpd sustained production. The water pumping system and pipeline is operational to supply processing water to the mine at its full planned capacity of 1,000 tpd.
The company has stockpiled over 29,000 tonnes of ore to be used in the commissioning process and pre-production phases of the 1st ball mill. As soon as the process plant completes its start-up commissioning phase and has been optimized for maximum recoveries and throughput, higher grade run of mine ore will begin to be processed to maximize revenues during the pre-production phases of the mine.
Altaley's underground mining contractor has developed access to four stopes, two on the El Creston structure and two on the Perdido structure, providing multiple working faces more than fully capable to supply adequate mill feed for the mine's start-up 500 tpd phase. Underground development is continuing and will soon provide access to 2 additional stopes on Perdido and four additional stopes on El Creston at lower elevations and thereby will have completed access at least 10 mining stopes capable of supplying mill feed to the 1,000 tpd operation upon completion of construction as described below.
Remaining construction to advance the mine to its planned full production capacity of 1,000 tpd includes a second ball mill installation. Installation of the second 500 tpd ball mill to increase milling capacity to 1000 tpd is planned to be completed in Q3, 2022. Necessary equipment has been acquired, the majority of which is stored on site or in the company's Durango warehouse.
Initial crushing is being handled with a temporary crusher, fully capable of continually feeding the 500 tpd ball mill, while the company completes construction of the mine's permanent crushing circuit, which will contain a primary jaw crusher and secondary cone crusher with associated vibrating screens and storage hoppers. All crushing equipment is on site or in the company's Durango warehouse ready for installation. The permanent crushing circuit is approximately 50% complete and expected to be completed during June 2022.
The tailings thickener is functional and tailings filter presses for dewatering are scheduled for installation over the next several weeks to be operational during June 2022. Temporary tailings storage is available to accept pre-production tailings until the formal dry stack tailings storage facility is ready to accept dewatered tailings, which is expected by the end of August 2022.