Equipment Specs

El Castillo Gold Project

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Projects > Mines

The El Castillo Gold Project is one of the largest gold mining projects in Mexico. Located 62 miles (100 km) outside of Durango, it is owned by Castle Gold and produces an average of 52,000 ounces (1.5 million g) of gold per year.

The open-pit mine, which is processed by conventional heap leaching, employs approximately 50 to 60 people.

[edit] Construction History

The discovery of gold was made by a regional exploration that was carried out by Battle Mountain Gold in 1995. The find was given to Newmont in 2000 when it took over Battle Mountain, but at the time, Newmont considered the deposit too small and turned it over to the Mexican government.

Although in the hands of the Mexican government, the project was still up for grabs and eventually Morgain Minerals acquired it. In 2007, Morgain merged with another company, Aurogin Resources Ltd. The result was the formation of Castle Gold, a company based in Vancouver, Canada.

When Castle Gold took on the project, it was worth $5 million and known as one of the largest gold-producing regions in all of Mexico.

The region, which consists of porphyritic andesitic rocks of the Tertiary Lower Volcanic Series, contains copper-gold porphyry and some copper carbonates along with gold deposits.

The mining process of the open-pit gold mine reached the commission stage in June 2008. It was estimated the mining process would come to an end after 10 years. Due to the nature of the weathered rock, blasting was not required, but rather boring holes and heap leaching were used to extract gold. The boring process relies on water sourced from local bore wells.

Heap leaching involves spraying an aqueous solution that contains cyanide onto the rock’s surface. After the solution drains, it is pumped to an adsorption-desorption-recovery (ADR) plant so that the gold can be recovered, melted, and poured into bars. What is left is recharged with cyanide and recycled. [1]

When the extracted material is ready, Caterpillar loaders and excavators load it into Mack dump trucks and it is brought to the plant. After this process has taken place, Metalore Resources Ltd., a Canadian company, smelts the gold.

Castle Gold has low capital costs for the project because it employs a contractor to carry out the mining and crushing. Although the company employs a contractor, it also cuts costs because it designed and built its own processing plant for the mine, which includes carbon columns, mix tanks, pumps, and a gold room.

As of August 2008, Castle Gold released information about the production of gold from the project. As of that time, more than 1,177,000 ounces (33.4 million g) of minerals had been mined. Proven reserves weigh in at 752,000 ounces (21.3 million g) with an average grade of 0.5 g/t. [2]

[edit] Equipment Used

[edit] References

  1. El Castillo. Mining-Technology. 2008-10-23.
  2. El Castillo. Mining-Technology. 2008-10-23.