A total of 2658,600 DST of ore were treated during FY 2009. The breakdown of this total output produced from Cía. de Minas Buenaventura S.A.A.s mines (Uchucchacua, Orcopampa, Poracota, Julcani, Recuperada, Antapite, Ishihuinca and Paula), was as follows: 423,256 ounces of gold, 13003,454 ounces of silver, 12,671 DST lead fines and 10,850 DST zinc fines.
We continued to carry intensify our exploration and development efforts in all of our mines, completing 73,908 meters of exploration and development works, and 166,877 meters in diamond drillings, which signify an 11% decrease and an increase of 13%, respectively, compare with the advance reported for 2008.
Work at our brownfield projects (Mallay, Anamaray - Jancapata, Yumpag, Ampato, Escribano and Tuyumina), consisted in completing 5,917 meters of exploration activities and 35,393 meters of diamond drills.
As of December 31, 2009, mineral reserves were 6742,989 DST of ore with contents of 71654,813 ounces of silver, 789,587 ounces of gold, 111,574 DST lead fines and 145,539 DST zinc fines (Chart 2) while resources, which include the mines brownfield explorations, totaled 7917,674 DST of ore with 0.110 oz/st gold, 6.68 oz/st silver, 1.69% lead and 2.46% zinc, which represent 871,258 ounces of gold, 52805,191 ounces of silver, 133,656 DST lead fines and 194,594 DST zinc fines (Chart 4).
This mining unit treated 1017,117 DST of ore mined mainly from the lower levels of the Socorro and Carmen areas, and from Huantajalla and Pozo Rico. Total output was 10555,566 ounces of silver, 9,423 DST of lead and 9,049 DST of zinc, in lead silver & zinc silver concentrates and in silver bars produced by cyanidation (Chart 1).
As of December 31, 2009, the silver content in reserves (including those of Pozo Rico) (Chart 2) increased by 18.1% compare to 2008, due mainly to increased silver prices and to the positive results of explorations.
New discoveries amounted to 2´535,702 with 9.39 oz/st silver, 1.75% lead and 2.52% zinc
Resources in the Uchucchacua district, including Anamaray and Jancapata totaled 3040,447 DST with 13.57 oz/st silver, 2.33% lead and 3.45% zinc (Chart 4).
In the Carmen Mine, we focused explorations on the Romina orebody at levels 4,300, 4,240 and 4,120. In the Socorro mine, we developed the Gina, Socorro and Giovanna veins at levels 4,120, 4,060 and 3,990. In the Huantajalla mine we explored the Mariana vein at levels 4,500 and 4,450 in addition to the Marcia and 4A Veins at level 4,300. All of these efforts produced positive results enabling us to replenish reserves.
The following shafts were built using raise climber equipment: 588, from level 4,450 to level 4,630 (Socorro); 589, from level 4,240 to level 4,450 (Socorro), 326, from level 4,240 to level 4,450 (Socorro); 32, from level 3,990 to level 4,240 (Carmen) and 302, from level 4,360 to the surface at Huantajalla.
In December we continued with the works to deepen the Luz shaft and have now advanced 12 meters and reached level 4,062. Ramps 626 at Socorro and 760 at Carmen have reached levels 3,916 and 4,040 respectively.
The operation of the pyrite/silver concentrate cyanidation circuit was resumed in March, after completing the construction of a new tailings dam for storing cyanide residues. The solution sent to the tailings dam is redirected to the cyanidation circuit.
Exploration works in FY 2009 covered an area of 5,099 m with 13,681 meters of diamond drills. Mineral resources were 673,565 DST with 6.67 oz/ST silver, 0.020 oz/ST gold, 4.44% lead and 6.79% zinc, primarily in the Izguiz mantle and in the María and Pierina veins; in the latter, gold is appreciable (0.131 oz/ST). We will continue exploration works on the Izguiz mantle at Lv 4150.
Geological mapping and sampling of outcrops containing manganese oxide in veins and orebodies produced interesting results. A total of 230 samples were collected from the Camila ore body. Results show anomalous silver grades of up to 29 oz/ST. In other outcrops there are silver grades are up to 7.0 oz/ST.
Eight diamond drill holes were drilled for a total of 2,824 meters. Four of these were drilled to explore the Camila orebody in depth. Drills intersected the Camila and Carama faults hosting silver with grades ranging between 1.0 and 12.0 oz/TC. The other four holes explored the Tomasa and Elena orebodies. Only the Tomasa orebody revealed silver content and grades ranged between 3 and 8 oz/ST for a width of 8.00 meters. These encouraging findings justify carrying out further in-depth interpretation studies before carrying out a new step-out and down-dip drilling campaign.
This mining unit treated 484,617 DST of ore mined from the Chipmo mine, and produced 279,095 ounces of gold in bars and 59,493 ounces of silver. In addition, the retreatment of 536,678 DST of old flotation tailings stored in tailings N° 3 allowed us to produce 36,132 ounces of gold and 32,032 ounces of silver (Table 1).
Ore mined from Poracota and treated at Orcopampa accounted for another 244,450 DST of mineral, containing 51,516 ounces of gold and 30,395 ounces of silver in concentrate. Total ore production at the Orcopampa Plant thus reported recoveries of 366,743 ounces of gold and 121,920 ounces of silver
As of year-end 2009 Orcopampa reserves at Chipmo totaled 1,060 DST with 0.613 oz/ST gold and 0.3 oz/ST silver, representing 650,375 ounces of gold and 318,291 ounces of silver.
New discoveries accounted for 225,986 DST with 0.619 oz/ST of gold and 0.69 oz/ST of silver, mainly in the lower levels of the Nazareno vein and in levels 3,390 and 3,340 of the Esperanza, Raluca and Fabiola veins.
Mineral resources in the Orcopampa district, including resources at Chipmo and Poracota totaled 3371,221 DST with 0.243 oz/ST of gold and 0.14 oz/ST of silver, which represents 819,211 ounces of gold and 465,426 ounces of silver.
At Chipmo, Ramps 17, 710-4 and 400-3 were deepened and we continued to deepen the Nazareno shaft down to level 3,205. Likewise the auxiliary shaft at Prometida has been deepened to level 3,298, but still needs to be continued down-hole to level 3,230. Ramps 17, 710-4 and 400-3 were developed down to levels 3,205, 3,342 and 3,381 respectively.
The design for the new tailings dam (N° 5) was initiated. Once built, this new dam will allow us to increase tailings storage capacity for another 15 years. The project estimates putting the new tailings dam into operation by mid 2012.
Finally, in May 2009 the new Cidelco filter press for filtering gold concentrate produced from the flotation of Poracota ore was put into operation. This filter will enable us to reduce operation costs (fuel consumption), eliminate smoke emissions produced by the concentrate drying process and achieve better control during dispatch.
Browfield explorations at Orcopampa completed the drilling of 112 holes for a total of 9,656 meters: 3,204 meters in Poracota Oeste, 3,162 meters in Pariguanas, 3,154 meters in the Poracota oxides area and 136 meters in Pucay.
At Poracota Oeste 12 diamond drills were drilled for a total of 3,204 meters. This confirmed the presence of Manto Aguila which appears to be vertical, 60-meter long silicified orebody containing specific 5 to 6 g/t gold. Further down-hole exploration is required.
A number of other structures that correlate with the Silvana, Maria Fe and Paola structures were also intersected. These show anomalous values of up to 19.15 g/t gold and appear to continue at depth.
Trenches and 84 short drill holes were made for a total of 3,154 meters in the Poracota oxide area. Estimated indicated resources are 1´975,968 DST with widths of 11.53 meters and grades of 0.049 oz/ST gold, representing 96,824 ounces of gold amenable to cyanide leaching.
Fifteen drill holes were made for a total of 3,162 meters. These intersected the San Pedro, San Pedro 1 and Alejandra veins. Drill hole PAR 09-05, cut the San Pedro vein with 3.00 meter intervals and 34.74 oz/t silver; drill hole PAR 09-14 intersected an interval of 1.35 meters with grades of 0.14 g/t gold and 15.74 oz/t silver. Another 3.15 meter intersect exhibits a 0.60 meter band with 4.95 oz/t silver and 0.12 g/t gold. On the basis of these drill results we have estimated 100,000 DST with 20.00 oz/t prospective silver. We continue to move forward with the drilling program.
Geological mapping of the Chaqui, Ocoruro Centro and Sur areas of this prospect were completed in order to document structures such as the Ocoruro Norte Fault and the Ocoruro Fault, and also to search for other structures running parallel to the Nazareno vein. A total of 328 samples were collected. Seven of these produced grades in excess of 1.0 oz/t silver, one (from Ocoruro Centro) reported 14.08 oz/t silver and 0.45 g/t gold and another sample showed grades of 6.53 oz/t silver. Samples taken from Ocoruro Sur revealed grades of 3.19 and 4.14 g/t gold. Three samples collected from the Chaqui area showed 18.01, 14.08, and 6.53 oz/t of silver These highly encouraging results justify continuing at-depth exploration drills in this project.
Channel sampling was conducted in faults adjacent or associated to the Santiago, Chicaymarca y Angela faults showing signs of hydrothermal activity, to determine whether they are at-depth mineralized feeders. In the Juanita vein a 0.40 -meter wide band reported 3.65 g/t gold and 38.97 oz/t silver. Geochemical tests run on the samples indicate high anomalies of gold, silver, Hg, Te, Ba, Pb and Sb. A 10- drill hole program has been proposed for a total of 3,540 meters before proceeding with further exploration works.
Sampling efforts carried out in the southwest extension of the Fatima and Susy veins reported anomalous gold-in-quartzite values. The highest grades obtained were 0.62 g/t gold and 4.24 oz/t silver. These veins extend over another 600 meters in quartzites.
At this point, there is an ongoing drilling program set in place to drill 1,750 meters. This has been advanced by 1,236 meters in the first drill hole and we hope to have intersected the Susy and Fatima veins.
Julcani treated 112,000 DST of ore (98,650 DST from the Achilla mine and 13,350 from the Estela mine) with 17.61 oz/ST silver and 1.73% lead (table 1), and recoveries of 1´819,375 ounces silver, 1,744 DST lead fines and 799 ounces gold. Mineral from Estela features higher gold content which meant that we were able to produce concentrates with an average gold grade of 1.23 oz/ST gold.
Reserves as of year-end 2009, totaled 312,755 DST with 19.75 oz/t silver, 1.40% lead, 0.54% copper and 0.037 oz /t gold (Table 2). Exploration activities in the Jesus vein and its 1, 2 and 3, Acchilla 2, Acchilla 7B and Manto splays at levels 420 and 510 of the Acchilla mine, as well as exploration efforts in the Maria Jesus and Magdalena veins at level 490 of the Estela mine have all produced heartening results.
New discoveries reported 136,665 DST of ore with 14.10 oz/t silver, 1.04% lead and 0.046 oz/ST of gold, primarily in the Jesus vein and its Acchilla 2, Acchilla 7B, Manto, María Jesus and Magdalena splays.
Reserves totaled 227,450 DST with 19.43 Oz/TC silver, 1.49% lead, 0.56% copper and 0.034 oz/ST gold, located mainly in the Jesus veins and its 1, 2 and 3, Acchilla 2, Manto, Chapi, María Jesus and Magdalena splays (Table 4).
Explorations in Acchilla at levels 510, 560 and 610, and in veins in the Estela mine at levels 0 and 490 should help us to discover new reserves in 2010.
Surface geological mapping was conducted and we also evaluated the Acchilla and Estela domes, so as to better direct explorations. Plans for 2010 also consider carrying out geological mapping in the Maria Jesus, Maria Jesus Noroeste, Mimosa Norte, Mimosa Noroeste, Taype Galindo, Alvarez 2, Maria and Condoray domes.
Drill holes made in the Acchilla area and between Jesus and Porvenir, beneath level 460, intersected veins with good grades. Further exploration work has been programmed for 2010, with a view to increasing reserves. Drill holes made at level 420 towards the northwest, in Mimosa, cut the Betsabe and Fatima veins with values ranging between 35.02 100.10 oz/ST silver. These shall be explored in more detail at levels 420 and 490.
The Jesus shaft was deepened down to 15 meters beneath level 610. In 2010, we plan to continue deepening the shaft down to level 710.
A new Feluwa pump for pumping final tailings from the plant to the Achilla tailings pond was installed and put in to operation in June 2009.
This mining unit treated a total of 57,620 DST of ore with 6.79 oz/ST silver, 2.87% lead and 3.69% zinc (Table 1), mined largely from the Esperanza 2001, Pilar, Camucha, Veta 2 de Rico Antimonio, Martha, Mary and Angelica veins. Recoveries reported 370,500 ounces silver, 1,509 DST lead and 1,633 DST zinc fines. Ore treatment capacity at Recuperada was stepped-up from 3,500 ST/d en January to 6,150 ST/d in December.
Mineral reserves as of year-end 2009 totaled 468,555 DST with 5.30 oz/ST silver, 5.00% lead and 6.80% zinc (Table 2) and are mainly found in the Esperanza 2001, Pilar, Camucha, Martha, 2 de Rico Antimonio and Angelica veins. Upon becoming accessible, part of the resources at Teresita have been upgraded to reserves, and this has significantly increased overall estimated reserves.
New reserves found in 2009 amounted to 398,785 DST with 3.53 oz/ST 4.50% lead and 7.02% zinc, and were mainly all found at Teresita.
As of year-end 2009, mineral resources reported 556,325 DST with 3.80 oz/ST silver, 5.30% lead and 7.90% zinc, mainly hosted in the Teresita 1, Ramal 95, Esperanza 2001, Pilar, Camucha, Veta 2 de Rico Antimonio, Martha, Mary and Angelica veins (Table 4).
Work to deepen Shaft 3 at Teresita down to level 4,000 was continued. The pumping system for Shaft 2 is nearing completion (96% advance) and significant headway has also been made to deepen Shaft 3 (84% advance).
We expect to commence stope exploration activities at level 4,040 of the Teresita 1 and Ramal 95 veins in June 2010 at a rate of 3,000 DST / month.
The work to expand the capacity of the main dike for tailings ponds 3 and 4 was completed.
Regarding the project to increase the treatment capacity of the concentration plant, we completed installing the 6 x 6 ball mill and a 20 m3 capacity flotation cell. As far as the new tailings facility is concerned, we expect that it will be put into operation during the course of the first semester in 2010 once we have obtained the operation permit.
This mining unit treated 142,760 DST of ore with 0.228 oz/ST gold and 0.46 oz/ST silver which signifies a recovery of 31,004 ounces gold and 50,099 ounces silver, a reduction of 28.4% in ounce gold and 37.7% in ounces of silver compared with FY 2008. This reduction is explained by the lesser tonnage of ore treated in 2009 (Table 1).
Reserves as of December 31, 2009 reported 25,950 DST with 0.309 oz/ST gold and 0.44 oz/ST silver, while mineral resources amounted to 23,752 DST with 0.368 oz/ST gold and 0.44 oz/ST silver. These are mainly hosted in the Susan, Eliana, Soledad Olvidada, Juana Solitaria, Zorro Rojo and Reyna veins (Table 2).
Explorations in the Eliana and Juana Solitaria veins towards the west at level 3,340, and exploration of the Mary vein on both sides on level 3,240, will enable us to discover new ore shoots with which to increase reserves. Moreover, exploration of the veins in the Carmencita area will help us discover new reserves. The exploration work carried out to date in the Carmencita vein, which consisted in collecting samples from 7 trenches and outcrop channels over a length of 1.5 km, produced gold values ranging between 2.0 g/t and 6.0 g/t for widths of 0.50 to 2.40 meters. There was also a remarkable sample measuring 0.45 meters wide with 53.55 g/t gold. The Coreracc vein is also interesting due to its 1.2 km length, but gold grades are low. The highest value recorded in the preliminary explorations work is 354 ppb.
The mine at Ishihuinca only operated in January, February and November totaling 3,055 DST of ore with 0.265 oz/ST gold to recover 638 ounces of gold. The processing plant has been temporarily closed down and will not reopen until new ore reserves are found. At the same time, we are working on a study to determine the viability of re-treating the flotation tailings (+/- 590,000 DST) and the cyanide leach tailings (+/- 220,000 DST), as we are already doing at our Orcopampa mine. On the basis of the results of lab tests, we calculate to be able to recover roughly 40,000 ounces of gold through cyanide leaching, for the duration of the campaign.
Mineral reserves as of December 31, 2009, totaled 19,103 DST with 0.375 oz/ST gold, while estimated resources were 1,389 DST with 0.401 oz/ST gold.
This mining unit treated 65,526 DST of ore with 0.386 oz/ST gold and 1.75 oz/ST silver, with recoveries of 24,072 ounces gold and 85,994 ounces silver, which represents a contraction of 38.5% in ounces of gold compared with the previous annual period (Table 1).
Reserves as of December 31, 2009 totaled 37,147 DST with 0.644 oz/ST gold and 1.7 oz/ST silver (Table 2).
New findings reported 28,001 DST with 0.293 oz/ST gold and 1.45 oz/ST silver.
Drill holes HDD Ly 44 (S) -15-09 and HDD Ly44(S)-16-09 made to explore the Angelica Maria vein intersected the vein at intervals of 2.20 meters and 9.40 meters respectively; they also intercepted a new potential structure at intervals of 9.10 meters and 26.00 meters respectively. Both potential veins, intersected between levels 4,880 and 4,580 produced low gold and silver grades, and only contain white quartz and scarce gray quartz infill. Higher amounts of gray quartz (suggestive of gold presence) may be contained in the areas running parallel to these intersects so we are continuing with step-out drilling in the hope of finding better gold and silver grades.
The Paula 158 E shaft which starts at level 4,880 was deepened down to level 4,815 and will serve to explore reserves beneath this level. The aim is to deepen it down to level 4,780.
Shaft 158E is being worked on between the surface and level 4,880 to so as to connect it with the section that has already been built from level 4,880 to 4,815. The winch shall be installed at the surface (level 5,000).
Geological mapping was carried out and we also defined the Mirtha and Olivia veins (discontinuous for a length of 3 km and 1.5 km respectively). Gold and silver grades found through trenches show high anomalies, particularly in the Olivia vein. Trench 1 showed 18.9 g/t gold with a width of 1.65 meters, and trench 2 reported 23.0 g/t gold and a width of 2.45 meters. Many sections of the other trenches report anomalous gold grades of over 1.0 g/t and up to 29.0 g/t, and anomalous silver grades ranging between 20.0 g/t and 574.0 g/t. On average, gold values found in the Mirtha vein are not as high as those found in the Olivia vein, and report gold grades of between 1.2 g/t and 53.0 g/t and silver grades of between 17 g/t and 547 g/t. These encouraging gold and silver grades merit further exploration drilling in theses veins. A total of 55 meters were drilled.
Four diamond drills were made for a total of 1,743 meters. Results showed low gold grades similar to those reported from the four drill holes made in 2008.Top