First Quantum Minerals has restarted copper production at its hydrometallurgical plant at Cobre Las Cruces operation in Gerena, Seville Province, Spain.

Last month, the company closed the open pit operation and the hydrometallurgical complex at Cobre Las Cruces after a major land slippage occurred.

Production commenced with the processing of lower-grade stockpiled ore, which is expected to provide feed for the next several months.

Meanwhile, First Quantum will obtain the necessary regulatory approvals to begin mining at Phase 6, an area that remained unaffected by the incident. It also contains the majority of the remaining resource in the existing ore body.

“The required government authorities and independent geotechnical experts are investigating the cause of the incident and its impact.”

The mine personnel immediately identified risk and implemented safety protocols before the incident, following which the company evacuated the pit.

The north slope of the mine pit and part of the mine waste storage area were mainly affected by the slippage.

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By GlobalData

First Quantum displaced the materials to the interior of the pit and covered the majority of the pit floor.

The required government authorities and independent geotechnical experts are investigating the cause of the incident and its impact, which is expected to take some time for completion.

Pit repairs will continue in order to restart normal mining activity, which is expected after obtaining regulatory approvals.

Using leaching and electrowinning technology, the Cobre Las Cruces mine has been designed to produce 72,000t of copper cathode a year.

Las Cruces uses conventional open pit mining methods, based on hydraulic shovels and trucks.