INTERNATIONAL MINING PROJECT NEWS issue 128 is the usual important and comprehensive fortnightly report on global projects, with in excess of 50 pages of updates. It has new information on two lithium projects, three each in molybdenum and PGMs, four each in vanadium, tungsten and manganese, five tin, six in rare earths, seven coal, 11 iron projects, 13 in silver, 23 in base metals, 41 in gold and also reflects the ongoing interest in developing other high value niche commodity projects. Xstrata Copper plans to present the EIA of its huge El Pachón copper project to the environmental authorities of Chile and Argentina in the second quarter of 2012. The project is located 350 km west of San Juan, at an altitude of 3,600-4,200 m and 4 km from the border with Chile. El Pachón is the second mining project – after PascuaLama – that is being developed between the two countries, by virtue of the Mining Integration Treaty of 1997. As of December 2010, the project was based on reserves of 1,790 Mt of ore @ 0.51% Cu. Goldcorp has ordered drum hoists for its Éléonore project. This property is host to the Roberto Deposit, a major new gold discovery situated within a relatively unexplored greenstone/meta-sedimentary belt in the James Bay district of Northern Québec, Canada. As of December 31, 2009, the deposit contained 3.15 Moz of Measured and Indicated gold resources at an average grade of 11.92 g/t and 6.25 Moz of Inferred gold resources at an average grade of 12.93 g/t. At the end of Q1, Goldcorp announced that “the advanced exploration activities continue. A new mine plan provides for doubling the plant throughput to 7,000 t/d starting in 2017 with gold production averaging approximately 600,000 oz/y over 15 years. Initial gold production is scheduled to start in the fourth quarter of 2014. Life-of-mine cash costs are expected to be below $400/oz and the total capital cost to full production is approximately $1.4 billion.” DavyMarkham will supply two double-drum hoists between 2012 and 2014, one production hoist used to sink the shaft and a second service hoist which will service the mine’s main operations.The Tampakan copper-gold project is in the news again – one of the largest undeveloped long-life, low-cost and near-term production copper and gold deposits in the world. Xstrata Copper holds a 62.5% interest in the project and Indophil holds the remaining 37.5% interest. The PFS has been submitted to government, and it estimates first production in 2016 at a rate of 66 Mt/y, resulting in average annual production of 375,000 t of copper and 360,000 oz of gold over the initial 17-year mine life, with considerable growth potential. The estimated cost of construction is $5.9 billion.Eco Ridge, in Elliot Lake, Ontario, the only Canadian mining camp to ever achieve commercial REO production and is an historically important source of “Heavy” REO in North America. With well-understood geology, excellent regional infrastructure, and strong local support, Eco Ridge is an ideal location for a safe, secure, and reliable long-term supply of REO and U3O8. Pele Mountain is focused on transitioning Eco Ridge into the feasibility and licensing stages as it advances the project toward development and production. The PEA has suggested a 9,400-t/d operation with life-of-mine production of 10.7 Mlb of Total REO and 24.9 Mlb U3O8 over a 14-year mine life.Hudson Resources has awarded the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Socio Economic Impact Assessment (SIA) studies to Environmental Resources Management (ERM) for the Sarfartoq rare earth project in Greenland. The EIA and SIA are key components required in the submission of a mine permit application.The Swedish Geological Survey, following consultation with local government authorities, recently declared Tasman Metals’ 100% owned Norra Karr heavy rare earth element (HREE) project a project of ‘National Interest’ under the Swedish Environment Act. The surface extent of the deposit was defined by the SGU with the assistance of Tasman personnel. This classification is highly significant in that it protects Norra Karr from any land use that may compete with future mining.Avalon Rare Metals announced a significant improvement in the anticipated economics of the Nechalacho Rare Earth deposit at Thor Lake NWT, Canada, based on the results of an update of its prefeasibility study. The update was prepared to reflect a new mine plan based on an update of the mineral reserve estimate which was, in turn, based on the company’s January, 2011 mineral resource update as well as higher product prices.Siemens Drive Technologies and Lynas aim to establish a joint venture company for the sustainable production of neodymium based rare earth magnets to serve Siemens’ production requirements for energy-efficient drive applications and wind-turbine generators. Lynas will provide raw materials for the joint venture, predominantly a combined neodymium/praseodymium metal, through a long term supply contract.Xstrata Zinc Canada has agreed to purchase the remaining 23.6% interest in the exciting Pallas Green property in Ireland belonging to its current joint venture partner in the project, Minco, for $19.4 million. Exploration efforts have identified significant zinc mineralisation at the Pallas Green property, which is at prefeasibility study stage. As of December 31, 2010 the JORC compliant inferred resource estimate is 25.9 Mt at 7.51% Zn and 1.38% Pb at a 4% cutoff (8.89% Zn eq).Tin producers in Rwanda including Rutongo Mines, the country’s biggest miner, plan to boost exports. Rutongo expects to double shipments to 200 t/month by the end of 2012 from 100 t currently, Michael Biryabarema, General Director of the Rwanda Geology and Mines Authority said. The company is a joint venture between Rwanda’s government and Switzerland-based Ruddington Services.Sierra Gorda is an open pit, green field conventional copper/molybdenum project located in Chile’s Atacama Desert. Fluor’s scope of work on the project will include providing EPCM services for the mine’s processing plant. When complete, the mine will be capable of processing approximately 110,000 t/d of ore, expanding to 190,000 t during year four of operations.Progress is being made between Fortune Coal and POSCAN. Mount Klappan is one of the world’s largest known undeveloped deposits of metallurgical coal with Measured resources of 107.9 Mt, Indicated resources of 123.0 Mt, Inferred resources of 359.5 Mt and speculative resources2 of 2.2 billion t.OM Holdings has ambitious manganese plans. It mines manganese ore in Western Australia and is on track to exceed its annual budget of 60,000 t of alloy from its Qinzhou plant in China. Now it is looking at 66,000 t of manganese alloy and 300,000 t of manganese sinter from OM Materials (Johor) in West Malaysia and 300,000 t of manganese ferro alloys and 300,000 t of ferrosilicon alloys from OM Materials (Sarawak) in East Malaysia.All this and much, much more in the July 15 issue of International Mining Project News….To receive the full report, subscriptions to this service can be registered and paid for on-line (SUBSCRIBE TO IM PROJECT NEWS BUTTTON), or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a free trial copy.