Mining Intelligence and News

La Plata (La Mina) Project

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Mine TypeUnderground
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Lead
  • Gold
  • Silver
Mining Method
  • Mechanized Cut & Fill
  • Drift & Slash
  • Room-and-pillar
Backfill type ... Lock
Mine Life... Lock
SnapshotThe La Plata project is a gold rich volcanogenic massive sulphide deposit that was the subject of small-scale mining from 1975-1981.

Atico Mining is focused on completing a Feasibility Study and delivering all requirements to receive the environmental permit for the La Plata project.

On May 19, 2022, Atico received approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment study for the project. On July 31, 2023, the Constitutional Court in Ecuador provisionally suspended Executive Decree No 754, which regulates environmental consultations. The La Plata Environmental Consultation Process (ECP) was put on pause. On November 17, 2023, the ECP resumed.


Atico Mining Corp. 100 % Indirect
On August 20, 2021, Atico Mining Corporation announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Toachi Mining Inc. (“Toachi”), has acquired the remaining 40% of the issued and outstanding shares of Compañia Minera La Plata S.A. (“CMLP”), which owns the concessions comprising the La Plata project. The acquisition was completed pursuant to a share purchase agreement dated the date hereof among Toachi, Atico and certain shareholders of CMLP. As a result of the Acquisition, CMLP is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Toachi.



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Deposit type

  • VMS


La Mina is mainly hosted by a sequence of predominantly basaltic to andesitic volcanics with a central felsic unit constituting the Eocene portion of the Macuchi Unit. The basalt-andesite volcanic sequence is in contact with a black shale unit to the west and a polymictic conglomerate to the east. The polymictic conglomerate is a much younger, unconformable unit covering in part the Macuchi Unit, and the black shales represent a conformable sedimentary sequence overlying the volcanic sequence.

With the exception of preferentially sulphide-replaced clasts, there are no primary sulphide textures at La Mina within the massive sulphide unit.

Well-developed planar layering in the sulphide bodies is tectonic in origin, with total textural destruction of primary features.

La Mina mineralization occurs at the contact between hanging wall basaltic to andesitic volcanics and the footwall andesitic rocks. The massive sulphide zone is usually conformably overlain by a narrow unit of jaspilitic exhalite which acts as a stratigraphic marker horizon.

Mineralization in the La Mina South and North Blocks occurs as massive to semi-massive lenses with thicknesses varying from several decimetres to a maximum of 12 meters, averaging 6 meters, with lateral extension that can reaches 100 meters. The mineralization occurs mainly as bedded layers and, to a lesser extent, as massive bodies with nondescript textures. Within a single sulphide zone, no geometrical zoning and no barite cap have been observed.

The main minerals in the sulphide horizons are chalcopyrite, pyrite, sphalerite, bornite, and galena, with subordinate fahlore (tennantite), covellite, digenite, chalcocite, and native gold. Gangue minerals are barite and accessory amounts of quartz.

Mineralization at La Mina is defined as a gold-rich polymetallic volcanic-hosted massive sulphide (VHMS) deposit which shows similarities to Noranda / La Ronde / Kuroko type Cu–Pb–Zn (±Au, Ag) massive sulphide deposits. Mineralization generally occurs as massive to semi-massive sulphide lenses within a calc-alkaline bimodal arc succession.

At La Mina, the VHMS mineralized horizons are stratiform and internally highly deformed with no discernible sulphide zonation. There is often a low-grade stockwork immediately below, and sometimes above this horizon, and is a result of secondary shearing and sulphide and metal remobilization. Barite generally occurs within and peripheral to the VHMS and stockwork mineralisation. A laminar chert (siliceous and hematite-rich layer) generally occurs several metres above the VHMS horizon. This can be used as a marker horizon.

Typically, individual deposits are 1 to 2 Mt in size and there is potential for other deposits or other mineralized horizons within the same stratigraphic package. Several similarities of La Mina deposit to the Noranda-Kuroko style mineralization are:
- Occurrence within a bimodal volcanic sequence in a sub-aqueous environment with potential for more prospective stratigraphic levels on the property;
- Lenses of massive sulphide occur at a contact between andesite and dacite which represents a key exploration guide on the property; although the rocks at La Mina are more andesitic and basaltic, rather than dacitic; and,
- Barite as a gangue mineral within sulphide zones and red banded jasper marker horizon assist in determining location in stratigraphy relative to potential mineralization.

One aspect of the La Mina deposit is that it is relatively Au-rich, compared to typical Noranda / La Ronde / Kuroko Cu–Pb–Zn massive sulphide deposits. This may be due to a secondary porphyritic mineralizing event, partially overprinting the deposit. Further exploration and investigation are needed to confirm this hypothesis.



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Mining Methods


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Crushers and Mills


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The Copper/Lead concentrate:
Copper - recovery - 89.4%; concentrate grade - 20.9% Cu;
Lead - recovery - 71.8%; concentrate grade - 4.1% Pb;
Zinc - recovery - 20%; concentrate grade - 9% Zn;
Gold - recovery - 43.1%; concentrate grade - 13 g/t Au;
Silver - recovery - 48%; concentrate grade - 141 g/t Ag.

The Zinc concentrate:
Copper - recovery - 4.5%; concentrate grade - 1.71% Cu;
Lead - recovery - 13.5%; concentrate grade - 1.3% Pb;
Zinc - recovery - 70.5%; concentrate grade - 51.2% Zn;
Gold - recovery - 26.5%; concentrate grade - 13 g/t Au;
Silver - recovery - 26.2%; concentrate grade - 125 g/t Ag.
Copper Metal in zinc concentrate M lbs 5.1
Copper Metal in concentrate M lbs 100
Zinc Metal in concentrate M lbs 30
Zinc Concentrate kt 94
Zinc Metal in zinc concentrate M lbs 106
Lead Metal in zinc concentrate M lbs 2.9
Lead Metal in concentrate M lbs 16
Gold Metal in zinc concentrate oz 55,000
Gold Metal in concentrate oz 90,000
Silver Metal in concentrate koz 1,260
Silver Metal in zinc concentrate koz 687
Copper-Lead Concentrate kt 218

Operational metrics

Daily ore mining rate 800 t *
Daily processing capacity 800 t *
Tonnes processed, LOM 2,007 kt *
* According to 2019 study.

Production Costs

Assumed price Lead USD 0.98 / lb *  
Assumed price Zinc USD 1.21 / lb *  
Assumed price Copper USD 2.68 / lb *  
Assumed price Silver USD 16.6 / oz *  
Assumed price Gold USD 1,264 / oz *  
* According to 2019 study / presentation.

Operating Costs

UG mining costs ($/t milled) USD 37.9 *  
Processing costs ($/t milled) USD  ....  Subscribe
G&A ($/t milled) USD  ....  Subscribe
Total operating costs ($/t milled) USD  ....  Subscribe
* According to 2019 study.

Project Costs

MetricsUnitsLOM Total
Pre-Production capital costs $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Sustaining CapEx $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Closure costs $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Processing OpEx $M USD 53.4
G&A costs $M USD 10.3
Total OpEx $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Total Taxes $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Gross revenue (LOM) $M USD  ......  Subscribe
EBITDA (LOM) $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Pre-tax Cash Flow (LOM) $M USD  ......  Subscribe
After-tax Cash Flow (LOM) $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Pre-tax NPV @ 5% $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Pre-tax NPV @ 10% $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Pre-tax NPV @ 8% $M USD  ......  Subscribe
After-tax NPV @ 5% $M USD  ......  Subscribe
After-tax NPV @ 10% $M USD  ......  Subscribe
After-tax NPV @ 8% $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Pre-tax IRR, %  ......  Subscribe
After-tax IRR, %  ......  Subscribe
Pre-tax payback period, years  ......  Subscribe
After-tax payback period, years  ......  Subscribe

Required Heavy Mobile Equipment


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Mine Management

Job TitleNameProfileRef. Date
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Feb 12, 2024
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Feb 12, 2024

Total WorkforceYear
...... Subscription required 2019


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