Río Narcea Recursos has received the Environmental Impact Statement (DIA, Declaración de Impacto Ambiental) for the Underground Project of Aguablanca, granted by the Environmental Minister on the 21st of July of 2017.
The DIA sets a series of conditions for the project that need to be fulfilled by Rio Narcea Recursos prior to start again the activities in the mine.
At the moment, while this fact is an important highligh for the viabilty of the project, some other issues are being analized.
On January 28th 2016, Lundin Mining informed the local authorities and employees of its intention to permanently close the Aguablanca mine, effective on June 2016. The decision to close the Aguablanca mine was due to:
- The authorities required the suspension of underground production activities pending the receipt of approval to proceed. The Environmental Impact Assessment of the transition from open pit to underground mining is pending to be approved by the Spanish Government.
- The significant and sustained decrease in nickel and copper prices.
On November 29th 2016, Valoriza Minería signed a purchase contract acquiring the Spanish assets of the Canadian multinational Lundin Mining Corporation. The agreement includes the Aguablanca mine and twenty-four Investigation Permits covering more than 1,330 km2 on exploration projects at the Ossa Morena and Iberian Pyritic Belt areas in southwest Spain.
Since then, Valoriza Minería is working with the authorities to restart the exploitation of the Aguablanca mine, once all necessary approvals were received and nickel and copper prices reachs profitable cash costs.
Aguablanca Mine Ni-Cu
The Aguablanca nickel and copper mine is a single open-pit and underground mine, located in the region of Extremadura in western Spain. It is situated 100 km north of Sevilla and 30 km south of the village of Monesterio.
Aguablanca is located in the south limit of the Ossa-Morena area and, more accurate, the Olivenza Monesterio Antiform, a new Copper Belt in southwestern Spain. The deposit consists of magmatic sulphide mineralization hosted by the gabbro and gabbronorite units.
The ore is predominantly formed by pyrrhotite, pentlandite, chalcopyrite and pyrite with minor marcasite and covellite. Magnetite is often present. Lesser amounts of platinum group minerals (PGM) and gold are also associated with the sulphide minerals.