Cauquenes Expansion Project
MVC is undertaking a significant expansion of its operations to extract and process the higher grade Cauquenes historic tailings. The Cauquenes expansion project is being undertaken in phases, which management believes reduces project risk.
Phase One was completed in December 2015 on time and under budget, enabling MVC to extract Cauquenes tailings for processing in MVC’s existing processing plant, increasing MVC's copper production to a record 63 million pounds in 2017. The Phase One Capex budget was $71.1 million and actual Capex was $66.6 million.
The Cauquenes Phase Two Expansion project will improve flotation recovery efficiency and enable MVC to reach an estimated annual production of 85 to 90 million pounds of copper, at an estimated cash cost of $1.45 to $1.60 per pound.
Metallurgical studies on Cauquenes in 2016 concluded that copper recovery can be increased from 34% to 49%. All major equipment has been purchased, including rougher and cleaner flotation cells, desliming cyclones and a concentrate regrind mill. The cost of Phase Two including all recommended contingencies is estimated at $35.3 million. Construction of the Phase Two expansion is underway and is expected to be completed in Q3 2018.
Conceptual layout of MVC's phase two plant expansion