Australia-based Mining Group has started mining activities at the Panga mine, which forms part of the El Roble copper project in Chile.
The company has dropped its initial plans for the possibility of an open cast operation at Panga, and later decided to proceed with the development of an underground operation, to expose the interpreted depth extension of the previously mined high-grade copper zones.
Initial work at the project included the installation of along-strike development drives within the mineralised vein on two levels, with the existing mine also requiring some minor rehabilitation and waste development in order to safely access below the historic, mined-out zones.
First material is anticipated to be hauled to the toll treatment plants in April.
Mining Group managing director Zeff Reeves said the commencement of the work is another small milestone for the company in the development of the El Roble project.
"Now we have the vein exposed in two headings, working towards our target zones below the historic stopes in the coming weeks," Reeves said.
"Along the way we are still stockpiling mineralised material which will help pay for the development when sold later this month."
Under the existing permit at Panga, Mining Group has the right to exploit up to 1,000t a month of copper-bearing material.
The company has now applied to increase the extraction to 5,000t a month and an outcome on the application is expected this month.
Mining Group has an exclusive option to acquire up to 90% of the El Roble copper project, which is located in the iron oxide-copper-gold Coastal Cordillera Belt of Chile.
The project, which covers about 6,000ha, is being actively mined on a small-scale by the owner.
Image: Panga surface stockpiles of mineralised vein material and mine office. Photo: courtesy of Mining Group.