San Bartolomé, Bolivia

Overview

The San Bartolomé mine, located on the flanks of Cerro Rico Mountain near Potosi, Bolivia, is one of the largest pure silver mines in the world and the second largest silver mine in Bolivia. Cerro Rico, a prominent mountain in the region, stands at over 15,400 feet (over 4,700 meters). The mine has brought economic development, a strong commitment to environmental stewardship and worker safety to the community. Mining at San Bartolomé is conducted using simple, free-digging surface mining techniques that do not require drilling or blasting, which results in minimal impact to the landscape. 

The San Bartolomé open pit silver mine and associated milling operation, is operated by Empresa Minera Manquiri SA (“Manquiri”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company. Access to the property and processing facilities is by paved and all-weather gravel roads leading south-southwest from Potosí. The Bolivian national mining company, Corporación Minera de Bolivia (“COMIBOL”), is the underlying owner of all of the mining rights relating to the San Bartolomé mine. COMIBOL has leased the mining rights for the surface deposits to several Potosí cooperatives. The cooperatives in turn have sub-leased their mining rights to Coeur, through Manquiri. The silver deposits comprising San Bartolomé range from 0.5 to 4 kilometers south of the city of Potosí. Construction of processing facilities commenced in 2007 and production began at San Bartolomé in the second quarter of 2008.

2012 Location Map San Bartolome
Stage: Production
Location: Potosi, Bolivia (South-central Bolivia)
Type: Surface mining of unconsolidated sediments (colluvial and alluvial) and surface stockpiles
Metals: Silver
Product: Silver Doré
Ownership: Wholly-owned operations with mineral rights held through joint venture and long-term lease agreements with several independent mining cooperatives and the Bolivian state-owned mining company COMIBOL. 
Land position: 9,000 acres (36.3 square kilometers) 
Production: 2015 = 5.4M oz Ag 
Adjusted costs applicable to sales per silver equivalent ounce1: $13.63
Proven and probable reserves2: 27.9M oz Ag
Measured and indicated resources2: 16.9M oz Ag 
Inferred resources2: 0.1M oz Ag 
Employees: 3​52

Operations

The ore at San Bartolomé is mined using conventional load and haul surface mining techniques without the need for drilling and blasting. There are two types of ore being mined and processed: whole ore and screened ore.

Whole ore is processed by conventional crushing and grinding using a SAG/ball mill combination and cyanide leaching in a counter-current decantation (CCD) circuit followed by silver recovery using a Merrill-Crowe process. The screened ore is mined from the lower flanks of Cerro Rico and is screened into +8 mesh and -8 mesh fractions for processing and for pumping to the tailings dam, respectively. The +8 mesh fraction is milled and processed using the same process flow as the whole ore. Product from the Merrill-Crowe circuit is smelted on site to produce a doré which is shipped to market.

View the latest Technical Report for the San Bartolomé mine.

Geology and Exploration Potential

San Bartolomé has been extensively explored by pits and trenches. Current exploration is being conducted to define and enlarge the known surface silver-bearing deposits and to discover additional deposits near Cerro Rico and the ore processing facility at San Bartolomé.

The operation exploits mineral reserves from four deposits located on the flanks of Cerro Rico and the surrounding areas near Potosí. These deposits are known as Huacajchi, Santa Rita, Diablo Este and Diablo Norte. These alluvial and colluvial deposits were formed by the erosion of disseminated mineralization in the upper portions of Cerro Rico. 

The silver mineralization at San Bartolomé is hosted in unconsolidated sediments (pallacos), reworked sediments (sucus and troceras) and oxide stockpiles (desmontes) from historic mining that occurred on the flanks of Cerro Rico. Silver, along with tin and base metals, is located in multiple veins, veinlets and stockworks that occur in a northeast trending belt which transects Cerro Rico. The upper parts of the Cerro Rico mineralized system were subsequently eroded and re-deposited into the flanking gravel deposits. Silver is hosted in all portions of the pallacos, sucus and troceras with the best grades segregated to the coarser-grained silicified fragments. These deposits lend themselves to simple, free digging, surface mining techniques and can be extracted without drilling and blasting. 

  1. Non-GAAP financial measure. Please see Reconciliation to GAAP table.
  2. Please see Reserves and Resources statement.

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Coeur Mining, Inc.
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