Canada-based Sierra Metals has completed the initial expansion of its Bolivar mine in Mexico, which will boost the production rate from 3,000t per day (TPD) to 3,600TPD in the first quarter of 2019.

The firm plans to increase production at its copper-silver-gold mine to 5,000TPD by mid 2020.

The expansion includes the installation of a refurbished mill and an electrical substation with 1250 KVA capacity; the deployment of a secondary crusher; and the implementation of a hydrocyclone cluster, which enables materials to be ground to finer forms and is estimated to offer a 6% increase in copper recoveries from 80% to 86%.

Sierra also claims to have completed the expansion ahead of schedule and with zero accidents.

The company hired local engineering firms, contractors and technicians for the project.

Sierra Metals president and CEO Igor Gonzales said: “We are very pleased with the progress made with our expansion plans at the Bolivar mine. With the early completion of construction at the Piedras Verdes Mill, we will deliver on our goal of a 20% increase in production from 3,000TPD to 3,600TPD, in Q1-2019.”

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“We remain focused on our brownfield exploration program and the importance of continuing to add to our reserves and resources.”

The expansion at the Bolivar mine is expected to lead to a 20% increase in production rates, a 6% increase in copper recoveries and a decrease in costs per unit.

Gonzales further added: “With increased production capacity at Bolivar mine, we remain focused on our brownfield exploration program and the importance of continuing to add to our reserves and resources. With the discovery of future resource additions, we believe that this expansion will allow for potential new copper pounds discovered to be incorporated into production plans earlier than if the Company had maintained a lower capacity level.”

Sierra Metals is a polymetallic mining company with Yauricocha Mine in Peru, and Bolivar and Cusi mines in Mexico.