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Cerro Vanguardia

Cerro Vanguardia

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Key Facts

Commodity Gold, Silver
Location

Santa Cruz, Argentina
Nearest Landmark: BUENOS AIRES 
Distance: 600 Km SSW from the nearest Landmark 
Latitude: 48° 24' (South) 
Longitude: 68° 17' (West) 

Map

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Owners AngloGold Ashanti Ltd - 92.5%
Fomento Minero De Santa Cruz S.E. - 7.5% 
Operator Cerro Vanguardia S.A.
Production

Gold - 212 koz in 2011 @ $393/oz total cash cost
Silver - 2.9 Moz in 2011 

Deposit Type Epithermal gold deposit
Reserves & Resources

23.41 Mt at 2.95 g/t gold & 62.35 g/t silver (Dec 31, 2011, proven & probable reserves)

Mine Type Surface & Underground
Mining Method Open pit
Processing Method Conventional cyanide leaching process in tanks and carbon-in-leach
Mine Life To 2022
Mining Equipment Truck & shovel
Processing equipment Crushers, grinders, CIL circuit
Employees 1,644 in 2011 (employees 1,065 + contractors 579)
Contact Information

San Martin 1032
9310 Puerto San Julian
Santa Cruz,
ARGENTINA
Phone:+54 (2962) 454 085
Fax:+54 (2962) 453 071
Reference Date: April 29, 2008

 

Last updated: May 14, 2012

Overview

Cerro Vanguardia is a gold-silver surface and underground mine located in Southern Argentina. AngloGold Ashanti has a 92.5% interest in the mine with Fomicruz (the province of Santa Cruz) owning the remaining 7.5%.

Located to the northwest of Puerto San Julian in the province of Santa Cruz, Cerro Vanguardia consists of multiple small open pits with high stripping ratios. The orebodies comprise a series of hydrothermal vein deposits containing gold and large quantities of silver, which is mined as a by-product.

Ore is processed at the metallurgical plant which has a capacity of 3,000t per day and includes a cyanide recovery facility. Technology at the plant is based on a conventional leaching process in tanks and carbon-in-leach with a tailings dam incorporated in a closed circuit. The final recovery of gold and silver is achieved through a Merryl Crowe method with metallic zinc. 

In 2011, the mine produced 212 koz gold. As underground mining operations ramp up future underground production would make up 70% of the mine's total production.

Location

Cerro Vanguardia mine is located 150 km northwest of Puerto San Julian in the province of Santa Cruz, Argentina.

Santa Cruz is an Argentine province located in the southern part of the country in the region known as Patagonia. Oil, gas and mining provide much of the province's income making it one of the most prosperous Argentine province.

Geology & Mineralization

 Cerro Vanguardia is located in the central portion of the Deseado Massif stratigrafic and structural unit in Southen Argentina.

Gold and silver mineralisation occurs within a vertical range of about 150 to 200 metres in a series of narrow, banded quartz veins that occupy structures within the 1,000m thick Chon Aike ignimbrites. These veins form a typical structural pattern related to major north-south (Concepcion) and east-west (Vanguardia) shears. Two sets of veins have formed in response to this shearing; one set strikes about N40W and generally dips 65 to 90° to the east; the other set strikes about N75W and the veins dip 60 to 80° to the south.

Cerro Vanguardia veins contain quartz, adularia and native gold, silver, silver sulphides and electrum. Quartz textures are colloform to crustiform banding, massive to vuggy quartz and breccia. They are typical of epithermal low-temperature gold-silver deposits.


Mining & Operation

Consists of multiple small deep (up to 200m) open-pits with high stripping ratios. At one time there are three to five pits operational depending on the plant feed requirements. Mining uses a doubled bench height of 20m. Average strip ratio for the remaining 10 years mine life (2012) is 26 to 1.Waste dumps and heap-leach stockpiles are located adjacent to pits.

Cerro Vanguardia orebodies comprise a series of steep hydrothermal vein deposits containing vast quantities of silver, which is produced as a by-product. Ore is blended as to smooth out the ore grades.

Due to the high strip ratio mining would move underground and would be carried in parallel with open pit mining. In the near future open pit production would decrease to 700,000 tpa - as pits become deeper  - while undergound production would contribute another 300,000 tpa. As of 2012, the only underground mining operation was carried at the Mangas vein, but more veins were undergoing underground development.

Processing

Ore is processed at the metallurgical plant which has a capacity of 3,000t per day and includes a cyanide recovery facility.

Technology at the plant is based on a conventional leaching process in tanks and carbon-in-leach with a tailings dam incorporated in a closed circuit.

The final recovery of gold and silver is achieved through a Merryl Crowe method with metallic zinc. 

Environment & Community

The Development Agency is one of the major programmes the mine shares with the local community of Puerto San Julian. This year it was agreed that the funds to sponsor these activities will be revised in line with the mine’s profitability. The application of these funds will be agreed between the Development Agency representatives, the mayor and a representative from the mine.

A 2011 survey indicated that more than 70% of the town's residents held a positive view of company.

All of Cerro Vanguardia’s environmental initiatives and ISO 14001 certification were maintained. One reportable environmental incident took place during 2010. An excavator ruptured a buried tailings pipeline, spilling 10m3 of tailings containing cyanide solution. The spillage was cleaned up and measures implemented to prevent a recurrence.

Cerro Vanguardial applied for Cyanide Code certification during the first half of 2011.

The mining operation's safety performance further improved in 2011 -  the mine recorded its ninth straigth year with no fatality.

 

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Cerro Vanguardia Suppliers

ABB - Mining Energy Conservation, Automation, Drives

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Marcotte Mining Machinery Services Inc. Multicrete Systems Inc.

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DMC Mining Services
Titan Process Equipment Ltd.

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