Since 2007, the Spanish mining company Saloro has been working on the reopening of an old tungsten mine in Barruecopardo. After receiving governmental authorizations and licenses in 2014, the construction of the crushing, screening and processing plant and facilities began. In July 2019, twelve years after the first steps for the reopening were taken, the plant was fully commissioned and Saloro is completely up and running.
Objective to recover 80-82% of the mineral content
The Barruecopardo mine is a tungsten open-pit mine with a current mine life of 10 years. After that, the mine could transition to an underground Stage 2. The mine's objective is to process one-and-a-half million tons of ore per year with 80-82% recovery of the mineral content, says Saloro's Jesús Martin, Director of the site.
The site is going to be exploited for the recovery of scheelite, which is one of the economically viable minerals for tungsten extraction. "Tungsten is an important alloy component in steels and is used in tool manufacturing and in steels that need to perform under high temperatures or high stress, such as in the development of drill bits and curring tools," explains Saloro's Tomás Vecillas, Functional Director.
A tailored solution for the whole process
The initial step is the exploitation of the mineral in the mine, utilizing drilling, blasting, and loading, followed by transport to the start of the processing area.
"The process comprises a crushing plant for the reduction of the mineral down to 0-5 mm, followed by a processing plant with different gravimetric equipment to achieve the final result, which is a high-grade scheelite concentrate with a tungsten trioxide content of around 70%," Jesús Martin explains.
Watch a video and read the whole story on metso.com: Reopened Barruecopardo tungsten mine commissioned and operating at full speed