Barruecopardo Tungsten Project, Castilla y Leon, Spain
The Barruecopardo Tungsten Project is situated in the Castilla y Leon region of Spain. It is 100% owned and operated by Ormonde Mining and has a life of nine years.
The mine is planned to be an open pit operation. It will be one of the biggest tungsten projects in Europe.
A definitive feasibility study (DFS) for the mine was completed in February 2012. The mine is expected to produce 1.1 million ton (mt) annually, according to the DFS report.
First production is expected in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Barruecopardo deposit's geology and reserves
The Barruecopardo deposit strikes north east and steeply dips towards the east. It is contained in a 1.6km long granite-hosted, sheeted vein system. The system contains multiple mineralised zones.
77 holes totalling 15,241m have been drilled to estimate the resources of the mine. Mineral resource estimates of Barruecopardo stand at 27.39mt grading at 0.26% of tungsten trioxide (WO3). Measured and indicated resources are estimated at 17.8mt grading at 0.29% WO3. Inferred resources are estimated at 9.59mt grading at 0.23% WO3.
Tungsten mineralisation at Barruecopardo
Tungsten mineralisation is found in quartz veins mostly in the form of coarse grained scheelites less than 10cm in thickness. Intense veining at the deposit is nearly 40m wide. Minor traces of wolframite are also part of the deposit.
Mining at Ormonde's tungsten project
The Barruecopardo mine was operational until the 1980s, when mining activities ceased due to unsafe and uneconomic conditions. These mining activities were carried out in southern part of the mine in open pits that are 800m x 100m in size.
The steeply dipping structure of the mine facilitates easy extraction of ore. Ormonde plans to use largely mechanised mining techniques including drilling and blasting, and shovel and truck operations. Open pit mining will be carried out during the first five years. After five years, underground mining using conventional mechanised bulk and open stoping mining methods will be carried out.
The open pits drilled for the current mining operations will be an extension of those drilled previously.
Ore processing at Barruecopardo tungsten project
The project does not require a primary grinding circuit because of its coarse mineralisation. Tailings dam is also not required, resulting in low capital and operational costs.
A gravity processing plant designed by Jacobs Engineering Group will be built to process the ore. The design of the processing circuit is similar to that used during the mining operations in the 1980s. Test work carried out at the mine indicated that the processing plant can achieve tungsten recovery of nearly 78%.
The processing will begin with a four stage 1.1mtpa crushing circuit which will crush the feed to a size of less than 5mm. The crushed ore will be screened before sending for gravity pre-concentration, in which heavy tungsten minerals will be recovered by jigs and spirals. The next step includes a clean-up and tabling circuit which will remove any sulphides present in the concentrate.
Transport and handling infrastructure at the tungsten mine
The project will benefit from the infrastructure available from previous mining operations. Good infrastructure, in the form of roads and power lines, is located adjacent to the mine site. Infrastructure upgrades will be carried out to suit the requirements of the current mining operations.
The recovered ore will be transported through rail and road to mainland Europe, and through ports to overseas countries.
Future developments near Barruecopardo
Molyhil tungsten and molybdenum mine is located 220km from Alice Springs in the Northern Territory of Australia. It is 100% owned and operated by Thor Mining.
Within the Barruecopardo mining license, several other prospects are contained which are expected to increase the resource volume of the project. The most significant prospect among these is the Valdegallegos prospect located 1km west of the Barruecopardo mine.
Two holes were drilled at the Valdegallegos prospect as part of a drilling programme focused on identifying adjacent prospects. One of these holes intersected high grade mineralisation of 0.9m grading at 2.6% WO3.
Another prospect at the mine is the Saturno, which contains 3m to 8m thick tungsten and a gold-bearing mineralisation zone.