Economic potential of new ore products in processing plant operations: A case study from midsize prospects, Atacama Chile

Juan Daniel Silva, Patricio Toledo, Daniela Holzmann


This paper proposes a methodology to evaluate the economic potential of mining prospects with a 'multi-product' approach. The National Mining Company (ENAMI) is a Chilean producer traditionally engaged in copper, silver and gold production and commercialization. Using this methodology it has been possible to identify other commodities with greater geological, market and technological potential. Prospects studied were valued using economic-mining criteria such as the cut-off grade, marginal cut-off grade and equivalent grade. In this work, thirteen commodities were analyzed and seven of them stand out: molybdenum, lithium, iron, bismuth, tungsten, rare earths (REE) and titanium. For every commodity, it is essential to know the geological characteristics of the prospect, the mining and processing technologies, the purchase point closest to the prospect and the market for these commodities. The sources of information are public bodies specialized in these matters, such as the National Geology and Mining Service, SERNAGEOMIN; the Chilean Copper Commission, COCHILCO. Sixteen ENAMI prospects were valued based on the proposed methodology and six of them presented the greatest economic potential: Salado Norte, Cerro Negro, Pazota, Pastenes, Laura–Laurita and Carmen Sur

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  SSN: ISSN 0719-9961

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