The medium-sized Río Blanco mining project, located at 3,800 meters high in the Molleturo parish of the Cuenca canton, began exporting gold and silver ore concentrate since March 11. Concessioned to the company Ecuagoldmining (consortium between the Chinese companies Junefield and Hunan), Río Blanco becomes the first of the five strategic mining projects (the other four are Mirador, Fruta del Norte, Loma Larga, San Carlos Panantza) in producing and sell abroad.
The project, already in the exploitation stage, has just begun to build the opening that connects directly with one of its veins: Alejandra.
In these early exploitation or preparation works, mineralized material is obtained and collected to be processed as a concentrate in Ponce Enríquez.
Thus, from March 11 to April 1, 330 tons have been exported to China, explains Alonso Mora, the company’s assistant operations manager. In the pit and the main tunnel you can see the work that the jumbo machine does with its mechanical arm drilling to place explosives. Subsequently, the material will be dynamited and then collected.
On the site you can see the workers who operate modern machines for the extraction of gold. A few others make channels to avoid water accumulation.
At the moment 250 meters have been built in gallery tunnels, but throughout the life of the mine could be built about 2,800 meters. The construction of the mine will last one year and at the same time the own concentrate processing plant that will not use mercury or cyanide.
About the concern of environmental sectors about a possible affectation to sensitive areas, Bernardo Darquea, specialist in Community Relations, commented that the sector where the project is carried out is at a distance of 5 km from El Cajas National Park and in a basin water different from that of the waters that correspond to Cuenca.
The investment will be of $ 78 million and at the moment $ 17 million. (I)