Image: Las Chispas: Turning a project concept into a mine

Minerals & Metals2 min read

Las Chispas: Turning a project concept into a mine

Location
Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico
Client
SilverCrest Metals
Timeframe
Sept 2019 – May 2022

Following a successful Feasibility Study that confirmed attractive project economics and resulted in the Las Chispas project advancing, we were awarded the EPC contract by SilverCrest Metals to deliver a highly efficient 1,250 t/d gold and silver process plant with price, schedule and performance certainty.

The Challenge

Las Chispas is located in a semi-arid region with scarce water resources, 180 km northwest of Hermosillo in Mexico. On the property, 45 separate epithermal veins contain highly variable gold and silver grades, posing a challenge to design and deliver a cost-effective processing plant that can efficiently produce doré metal for sale from this variable feedstock.

SilverCrest wanted an experienced partner to show the value and viability of the Las Chispas property in order to secure financing and move quickly into project delivery to optimize shareholder value.

They also needed a partner whose commitment to safety and familiarity with COVID-19 protocols were proven, with on-site construction work having started in February 2021.

The Better Way

To gain maximum value from the property, detailed engineering started in parallel with completion of the feasibility study – which showed positive project economics and a payback period of one year. Our engineers, with deep expertise in metal processing, designed an efficient facility capable of processing the highly variable ore body and found a better way to reduce capital costs overall.

In an effort to conserve water and reduce safety and environmental risks, tailings will be impounded in a dry stack tailings facility (DSTF). Also, with our recent experience delivering the Mina Justa project during COVID, we worked closely with SilverCrest Metals to implement proper safety protocols quickly and efficiently at site.

Status

As of June 2021, detailed engineering has passed the 90% review milestone and is on track to be completed in July 2021. Orders have been placed for equipment and bulk materials, and fabrication is proceeding on schedule. Our team is established on site with concrete works 60% completed and structural and mechanical subcontractor work well underway.