Canadian company to open copper mine in Chihuahua

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Two men rest in Samalayuca, 31 miles south from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Sunday, April 12, 2009. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — A Canadian company has submitted paperwork to operate a copper mine in the town of Samalayuca, some 35 miles south of the El Paso-Mexico border, Chihuahua state officials said.

Montreal-based VVC Exploration Corporation has completed feasibility and environmental studies for the project and has an archaeological study pending, due to the presence of petroglyphs in the area, Mario Dena, the ranking state official in Juarez said.

“They want to invest in the extraction of copper. … They want to take care of all the legal requirements” before making the project public, Dena said Wednesday during a press conference in Juarez.

If approved, the mine would bring 1,200 jobs to Samalayuca, a town along the Juarez to Chihuahua City highway, local officials said.

The “Gloria” project is featured on VVC’s web page. The company says a 15-kilometer mineralized copper strike has been identified after two years of exploratory drilling over a property that encompasses 4,055 acres. The company said the claim includes 9.6 million tons of copper graded 0.28 percent and possibly an additional 14.4 million tons of the same grade.

In an Aug. 7 news release, the company said its board approved a pilot mine in the Gloria Zone of what it calls the “Katy Claim” in Northern Mexico. The company says it’s already received environmental and land-use change permits.

“The plan envisions mining of the oxide copper resources using an open-pit extraction process, (solvent extraction) processing of the ore, and recovery of the copper using an on-site electrowinning,” the company’s release said. Electrowinning is a process used to remove metal ions from liquid solutions.

Dena said state government can’t say the project’s cost or a start-up date.

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