The beginning of Piedras Verdes Mine.
In March 2002, Frontera Copper Corporation (“FCC”) was incorporated to purchase 70% Phelps Dodge’s interest in the Piedras Verdes Project, and bring into production the run-of-mine heap leach SXEW copper project in Sonora, Mexico. One year later, FCC acquired the remaining 30% of Piedras Verdes Project from Azco Mining.
In Q4 2004, Toronto Stock Exchange (“TSX”) listed FCC started the process of financing and building the open pit and run of mine copper heap leaching operation at the Piedras Verdes Mine (PV Mine). It did so through a wholly owned Mexican subsidiary, Cobre del Mayo (“CDM”). Deposit modeling, grade control, the contract mining arrangement and other relevant aspects of mine planning and operation were deficient. These caused a loss of permeability in the heaps and impaired production. In combination with the interruption of acid supply in 2008, they resulted in high cash costs and negative cash flow.
In late 2008 – as the financial crisis progressed – these operational deficiencies, in combination with high leverage, falling copper prices and the loss of access to capital markets (evidenced by its share price declining from a high of $7.86 to $0.24), rendered Its operation untenable in the absence of external support.
In mid 2008, Invecture Group S.A. de C.V. (“Invecture”) identified the PV Mine as an asset that could deliver significant value by the implementation of revised mining and processing strategies under the direction of a new management and technical team, with substantial new financial investment and support.
On December 3, 2008, Invecture announced an offer to acquire all of the common shares of FCC. On May 4, 2009, the acquisition (the “Acquisition”) was completed. FCC delisted its common shares from the TSX. Through this Acquisition, Invecture obtained full control of FCC’s 100% ownership of CDM. FCC redeemed its TSX listed senior secured notes in March 2012 and ceased to be a reporting issuer. Key Initiatives Implemented by the ownership of Invecture
Cobre del Mayo under the ownership of Invecture has:
Changed from contract
mining to owner operation
and purchased the former
contractor’s equipment fleet.
Purchased, re-engineered and
installed a crushing, screening,
conveying and stacking system
(collectively, the “Crushing
System”) to convert the
operation from Truck Dump Run
of Mine (“ROM”) to a primarily
crush-conveyor stacked heap
Undertaken the successful
modeling of alternative styles of
Developed new mining and
processing plans (“Mine
Plan”) based on this new
understanding of the styles
and spatial distribution of
Developed and implemented an
effective ore quality and grade
control system providing good
characterization of ore types and
directing selective mining and
processing to improve copper
Hired new senior operating
management with relevant
experience in comparable
Initiated an aggressive resource
definition and expansion drill
Developed plans to process
the high-grade chalcocite
and chalcopyrite ores, using
a grinding and flotation
plant to achieve much higher
metallurgical recoveries to
Developed a new resource
model and Mine Plan to produce
a target ~47 ktpa (~100 M lbs) of
|2016||We started leaching chalcopyrite ore using an engineered leach pad with aeration.|
|2015||We built a Fines Classification System to enable us to process high clay content and other fines generated by crushing highly altered ore. This system separates the fines into a coarse fraction that is added to the conveyor system and leached and into a fine fraction (floatable slimes) that is processed into concentrate by floatation by Kupari Metals.|
|2014||We acquire 40% of the common stock of Kupari Holdings, the holding company of KM. This simplifies and optimizes ore allocation among processes, and diversifies operational risk across two processes and products.|
|2013||We started selling ore to Kupari Metals. This ore is processed in its flotation plant that is operated at Piedras Verdes.
We issue US $225,000,000 10.75% Senior Notes due 2018 to repay outstanding indebtedness under our existing credit facilities and our capital lease obligations.
|2012||We enter into an agreement with Kupari Metals, S.A. (“KM”) that requires KM to build and operate a flotation plant adjacent to PV to process vein type ore and refractory (hypogene) ore, which are susceptible to better recovery rates by flotation than by heap leach.|
We improve the mining and processing plans at PV, and initiate an aggressive resource definition and expansion campaign, which increases estimated reserves from 125,095 t in 2010 to 477,778 kilotons.
We purchase an ore crushing, screening and stacking system that enables the successful conversion from truck dump ROM heap leach to a primary crush-conveyor stacked heap leach, and undertake the advantageous re-characterization and modeling of the alternative styles of mineralization present at the mine.
In addition, we implement an effective ore quality and grade control system that enables us to conduct selective mining and processing to improve copper recovery.
|2009||Invecture Group acquires FCC and, consequently, obtains full control of CDM. We replace contract mining with owner operation, purchasing all of the former contractor’s equipment fleet.|
|2008||In the face of the global financial crisis and the declining copper prices, operations at PV are suspended. Invecture Group, S.A. de C.V. seizes the opportunity to acquire this valuable asset and announces an offer to acquire all of FCC’s common shares.|
Commercial production starts at PV mine.
|2005||FCC signs a letter of intent with Grupo Peal for the provision of contract mining services.|
FCC starts the financing and building processes of open-pit and run-of-mine (ROM) copper heap leaching operations at PV mine through its wholly owned Mexican subsidiary, Cobre del Mayo (“CDM”).
|2003||FCC acquires the remaining 30% of PV project from Azco Mining.|
|2002||Frontera Copper Corporation (“FCC”) purchases 70% of Phelps Dodge's interest in Piedras Verdes Project (“PV project”).|