Aljustrel zinc mine sold to avoid closure .jpg

Aljustrel zinc mine sold to avoid closure

Pirites Alentejanas (PA), a subsidiary of the Lundin mining company, which owns the zinc mine at Aljustrel in the Alentejo, has been sold.

The agreement on the sale to MTO SGPS, SA is expected by the end of January, subject to contractual obligations.

The Portuguese government has indicated its support of the sale.

With the recent fall of zinc prices, which dropped by 50 per cent since the mine officially opened in May 2008, Lundin had to look to other ways of making the mine economically viable.

Exploration drilling and resource upgrades meant that the quantity of copper resources available for mining had increased.

However, with the fall of metal prices brought on by the global financial crisis, this was still not enough to make the mine economically viable.

The Aljustrel mine, which cost 157 million euros to build, was planned to produce 80,000 tonnes of metal per year.

Pre-production losses and shutdown costs were expected to amount to 56 million euros. On-going annual care and maintenance costs are estimated to be around four million euros.

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