European minerals development and exploration company EMED Mining has completed the remaining site development for phase 1 of Rio Tinto Copper Project (Proyecto Riotinto) in Spain.

As part of the development, waste pre-stripping work is being performed at the site, in addition to supply of mineralised material to the flotation plant to be used at the time of commissioning.

According to EMED, wet commissioning is ongoing and various components of the plant, which include secondary and tertiary crushers, flotation cells and pumps, are working smoothly.

All 260 full-time employees on-site, as well as 450-550 contractors, are working on a continuous basis primarily on the plant for phase 1 expansion.

"Having attained our goal of starting production well ahead of schedule and under budget, our focus is now on the two expansion phases."

After raising sufficient funds to expand the plant beyond its initial capacity of 5Mtpa, EMED aims to increase its planned processing to 7.5Mtpa.

Under phase 2, new equipment has now been ordered by the mine contractor with initial delivery expected on-site in December.

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The remaining equipment is expected in March 2016.

At the plant expansion, civil works on the new grinding mills are going on in addition to engineering of the new flotation area.

EMED also signed agreements with interested parties to dispose of its exploration assets in Slovakia and Cyprus in a bid to focus on the core activities at Proyecto Riotinto.

EMED CEO Alberto Lavandeira said: "Having attained our goal of starting production well ahead of schedule and under budget, our focus is now on the two expansion phases: firstly to processing throughput of 7.5Mtpa, which we estimate shall be achieved by the end of H1 2016, and secondly to 9.5Mtpa, which we hope to achieve approximately six months later, subject to financing.

"We look forward to growing our commercial production as a ‘pure-play’ copper producer and are extremely grateful for the continued support shown by our shareholders."