El Sauzall is a conventional open pit, oxide milling operation which achieved commercial production in December 2004. El Sauzall is approaching the latter years of its mine life and the planned decline in production is occuring.
Gold production in 2009 was 204,000 ounces
A feasibility study for developing the property was completed and was approved by the Glamis Board in 2002. Construction began in the second half of 2003 following an environmental review and permitting.
Due to the remote location and steep, rugged terrain surraounding the El Sauzall site, extensive site development was required prior to the commencement of operations.
A concerted effort on the part of El Sauzall's workforce throughout 2004 enabled the rapid completion of the access road from Choix to the mine site, mine construction and installation of the mill and other processing facilities. The mine commenced commercial production in December 2004, well ahead of the original feasibility schedule.
The start-up phase progressed smoothly and the only modifications of any significance were made to the filtration circuit for dry stack tailings.
Goldcorp controls seven exploration concessions surrounding the El Sauzall deposit comprising an area of more than 100 square kilometers.
The El Sauzall mine is located in Chihuahua, Mexico approximately 250 kilometres southwest of the state capital Chihuahua City. The climate is semi-tropical with hot summers (as high as 42 degrees C) and mild winters (10-15 degrees C). The El Sauzall region is mountainous, forming part of the Sierra Madre mountain chain with elevations ranging above 2,000 meters in certain parts.
Geology and Mineralization
The El Sauzall mine is producing gold from a typical epithermal, high-sulfidation or quartz-alunite, oxide, gold deposit on the Sierra Madre gold trend of northern Mexico.
The gold mineralization is within a thick east-to-northeast-dipping succession of Late Cretaceous to Tertiary volcanic rocks of the Lower and Upper Volcanic Series of the Sierra Madre Occidental. The host rocks are dominated by dacitic to rhyolitic pyroclastic units, which in turn are overlain and intruded by sparsely porhyritic, flow-banded rhyolite and porphyritic hornblende andesite. Gold is found in steeply to moderately dipping, tabular to irregular cores of vuggy, residual quartz, which are mantled by more aerially extensive bodies of quartz-alunite-kaolinite alteration. The alteration and gold mineralization follow a general east-west trend.
Mining & Operations
The El Sauzall Mine is a conventional open pit operation moving nearly 7.4 million tonnes per year of material. Ore is mined at an annual rate of 2.1 million tonnes. Ore is fed through a primary jaw crusher prior to being introduced into a semi-autogeneous grinding mill/ball mill circuit.
Gold recovery is a modified CIL circuit. El Sauzall use a detox process and filtering of the tailings for final deposition.