A mining history dating back almost 100 years
The Barruecopardo Project is located in the Salamanca Province of western Spain which is an area of substantial historic tungsten production.
Mining of tungsten at Barruecopardo apparently first started in the early 1930’s, and reached a peak in production between 1942 and 1945. The mine continued to operate for much of the remainder of the 20th Century until operations were ceased in 1982. For the majority of its operating life Barruecopardo was the largest tungsten mine in Spain, producing a high quality tungsten concentrate from open-pit mining operations.
The original mining at Barruecopardo (1930s-1960s) was via a series of small (up to 200m long, by typically 5m to 30m wide), very steep sided open-pit workings. These non-mechanised operations were advanced downwards to depths of up to 30m.
More recent mining (1960s-1982) concentrated on developing the small open pit workings on the southern portion of the mineralisation into a larger (800m long by 100m wide) mechanised open pit operation, which was mined down to a maximum depth of 80m. The pit walls were semi-vertical and intermediate safety berms were not in general cut into these walls. All material mined in the Main Pit was crushed in-pit, transported to surface by a conveyor located in an underground gallery and all material (both ore and waste) was processed through the gravity plant. In this period approximately 10.2 million tonnes of ore was processed through the mine processing plant, resulting in production of approx. 4,000 tons of saleable concentrate.
The operation had a significant positive impact on Barruecopardo and the surrounding communities and was an important employer and generator of wealth in the local area.
A disturbed site with local contamination
Activities ceased at the old mine in the early 1980’s with some of the mine infrastructure and facilities still remaining including the open pit (which is currently flooded with some 1 million cubic metres of acid water), several derelict buildings and structures, and waste dumps containing some 10 million tonnes or more of both coarse and fine rock waste material.
The inert waste rock in the existing dumps is currently being exploited for the purposes of producing sands and gravels for building purposes by a local company not related to Saloro.
Areas of the site reputedly suffer from soil and surface contamination from a variety of substances remaining from the previous mining activities, including the presence of some dangerous contaminants. Work at the site by specialist contractors on behalf of Saloro has confirmed the presence of this contamination including determining the exact locations, degree and nature of contamination in each case
Saloro commences project to reactivate the historic mine
Saloro entered into a farm-in JV on several existing Investigation Permits (IP’s) which included also the Saldeana IP which contained the historic Barruecopardo Tunsgten Mine. The Saldeana IP was then held by Sociedad de Investigación y Explotación Minera de Castilla y León, Sociedad Anónima (SIEMCALSA) who originally applied for the Investigation Permit in Aug 2001. SIEMCALSA is a private company registered in Valladolid in 1992. It is partially regional government-funded and controlled, and is involved in encouraging exploration and mine development in Castilla y León.
Saloro commenced mineral exploration activities on the Saldeana IP including at and around the site of the historic Barruceopardo Tungsten Mine. These exploration activities rapidly focused upon the site of the historic Barruecopardo Mine, with drilling activities and technical studies commencing shortly afterwards.
Following initial studies and drilling on the Tungsten resource at Barruecopardo, an Independent evaluation of the project conducted by Scott Wilson Mining on behalf of Saloro provided encouraging results resulting in renewed drilling and testwork/studies.
Saloro achieved 100% ownership (subject to staged payments) of the Saldeana IP including the historic Barruecopardo Tungsten Mine.
Preliminary permitting applications submitted for a potential tungsten mining operation at the Barruecopardo project.
Definitive Feasibility Study completed on the Barruecopardo Tungsten Project containing a recommendation to proceed with funding and developing the project.
Definitive environmental and mining permitting documentation submitted for the Barruecopardo Tungsten Mining Operation.
Environmental Approvals received for Barruecopardo Tungsten Project
Mining Concession awarded to the Barruecopardo Tungsten Project
Financing package arranged for the Barruecopardo Tungsten
With Construction Engineering sufficiently advanced procurement of process plant and Infrastructure equipment commenced, as did the exercising of all land purchase agreements enabling commencement of pre-construction site preparation activities.
Saloro received the Declaration of Urgent Occupation over the remaining lands required for the full construction of the Barruecopardo Project, from the Regional Government of Castilla y Leon.