A prefeasibility study has found that the Proyecto Touro copper project will be profitable, validating Aim- and TSX-listed Atalaya Mining’s initial interest in the brownfield development in north-west Spain.
Based on a long-term copper price of $3/lb, the Touro project has an after-tax net present value, applying an 8% discount, of $180-million, and an internal rate of return of 20.5%.
The study is based on a 12-year openpit mining operation, which will produce 30 000 t/y of copper and 70 000 oz/y of silver in concentrate.
Preproduction capital expenditure is estimated at $165-million, with additional expansion capital of $30-million required in year eight to upgrade the throughput capacity as lower grade ore will have to be treated to maintain copper production rates from year eight onwards.
The initial Phase 1 plant throughput will be six-million tonnes a year, increasing to ten-million tonnes a year in year eight.
The Touro project is expected to deliver a high-grade concentrate, which is in high demand in international markets. Metallurgical testwork during the latest programme has reported concentrates that averaged 29.1% copper and an 87% recovery.
Atalaya has acquired an initial 10% of the project and plans to increase this to 80%.
“The strong project economics reinforce the company’s approach to operations: to discover and develop low-cost, safe and reliable assets,” commented Atalaya CEO Alberto Lavandeira.
The positive study outcome helped to push the company’s stock in London up by 5% to £2.47 a share on Monday.
The Touro project is central to Atalaya’s multi-asset copper producer vision. The miner already produces copper concentrates and silver at the Proyecto Riotinto mine, where an expansion project is under way.