Bolivia: Karachipampa set to start operations next week

(SteelGuru) BNamericas reported that Bolivian polymetallurical plant Karachipampa located in the department of Potosí will start operations on October 1st 2012.

Mr Héctor Córdova former president of state mining company Comibol said that "Operations will start with a dry run, and then later the ore will be loaded. For now all that is needed is an operation authorization for the oxygen plant which will be delivered by engineers of the manufacturing company in the coming days.

Mr Córdova said that Karachipampa has previously delayed its starting date due to technical difficulties in the oxygen plant. The contract will be signed this week with Minera San Cristóbal a subsidiary of Japan's Sumitomo for the supply of lead and silver concentrates required for operations. The supply will be for at least the remainder of the year and we hope that next year material will be supplied by Comibol and by cooperative mines as well, in order to boost production.

He emphasized that the concentrates MSC will deliver will have few byproducts and since the plant can separate these minerals, the idea is to take advantage and use concentrates with a higher content of silver, gold and other metals. The idea is to have the entire plant running, and for that reason it's necessary to have a more 'impure' mineral for want of a better way of putting it.

Karachipampa requires 51,000 tonne per year of lead and silver concentrates. Under the agreement with San Cristóbal the miner will provide 40,000 tonnes. The remaining 11,000 tonnes will be provided by the Porco and Bolívar mines operated by Comibol.

Karachipampa is designed to produce lead with silver content and a minimum amount of zinc that is eliminated through oxidation. The plant was completed in 1983 at a cost of USD 500 million but has not yet seen production.

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