Sep 16, 2019

Reopened Barruecopardo tungsten mine commissioned and operating at full speed

Since 2007, the Spanish mining company Saloro has been working on the reopening of an old tungsten mine in Barruecopardo. After receiving governmental authorizations and licenses in 2014, the construction of the crushing, screening and processing plant and facilities began. In July 2019, twelve years after the first steps for the reopening were taken, the plant was fully commissioned and Saloro is completely up and running.

Objective to recover 80-82% of the mineral content

The Barruecopardo mine is a tungsten open-pit mine with a current mine life of 10 years. After that, the mine could transition to an underground Stage 2. "The mine’s objective is to process one-and-a-half million tons of ore per year with 80-82% recovery of the mineral content," says Saloro’s Jesús Martin, Director of the site.

The site is going to be exploited for the recovery of scheelite, which is one of the economically viable minerals for tungsten extraction. “Tungsten is an important alloy component in steels and is used in tool manufacturing and in steels that need to perform under high temperatures or high stress, such as in the development of drill bits and curring tools,” explains Saloro’s Tomás Vecillas, Functional Director.

La mina de tungsteno de Barruecopardo en España

A tailored solution for the whole process

The initial step is the exploitation of the mineral in the mine, utilizing drilling, blasting, and loading, followed by transport to the start of the processing area.

“The process comprises a crushing plant for the reduction of the mineral down to 0-5 mm, followed by a processing plant with different gravimetric equipment to achieve the final result, which is a high-grade scheelite concentrate with a tungsten trioxide content of around 70%,” Jesús Martin explains.

A tailored Metso PrimeSite solution for the crushing and screening plant

For Saloro, Metso designed, manufactured, installed and commissioned a Metso PrimeSite solution, a one-stop offering, including every element needed to set up a new stationary crushing and screening plant tailored to the project’s specific needs.

Metso’s scope included mechanical and electrical engineering, site construction and supervision, with a Nordberg® C120 jaw crusher, VF561-2V grizzly feeder, 2 x HP3 and 2 x HP4 Nordberg® cone crushers, 3 x Metso TS5.2 multi-slope screens, conveyors, steel structures, buildings, electrical and automation.

In addition to the crushing and screening plant, Metso also provided plenty of material for Saloro’s processing plant, including an MF2862 Multi-Flo (banana) screen, 10 DR flotation cells (5 DR15 & 5 DR20), 2 vacuum filters, 41 Metso pumps with compensators (HR, HM, VS, VT & VF), slurry hoses and knife gate valves.

Flotation cells at Saloro mine

Reliability of equipment and consignment inventory

Saloro selected Metso for several reasons, including its extensive track record in similar projects, its process knowledge, reliable equipment and after-sales support, and, most importantly, the perfect collaboration during the testing period. Tests were carried out in Metso’s crushing and screening test facilities in Finland to obtain their target of 1.5M tons of processed ore with 80-82% recovery of the mineral content annually. Saloro is convinced that the solution will help them to achieve all set goals.

Since the commissioning in June 2019, the Barruecopardo mine, consisting of a 275tph crushing and screening plant fully engineered by Metso and a process plant for which Metso has supplied some process equipment and a considerable number of slurry pumps, is now operating at full speed.

Watch the video of the Barruecopardo mine:

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