Jujuy Province: Two copper and gold projects thrive with local investment

The only mining initiative in Jujuy with local investment began two years ago, exploiting copper for export while progressing towards alluvial gold production.

By Panorama Minero

In the province of Jujuy, Mom Mining (MOM) is a company with a copper production project named "Martín Bronce," which has already invested $5 million, and another alluvial gold project called "La Auxiliadora" in the exploration phase, with an investment of nearly one million dollars.

"We are the first Jujuy-based company investing in Jujuy, with Jujuy capital and utilizing Jujuy resources," highlighted Diego Zuliani, Managing Partner of MOM. It is part of the Villanueva Group, composed of Villanueva e Hijos, Valerza, Briomodo, Imanta, Propay, and Villanueva Servicios Mineros.

"In the Martín Bronce project, we have been bulk-producing for two years, exporting to Chile with a high copper grade, around 5%," stated Zuliani.

It is a tabular-type deposit of copper minerals with an average thickness of 3 meters, located in sediment layers, a basal conglomerate, and fine sandstone that define minerals.

Located in the Santa Bárbara department, near Palma Sola, work began four years ago, and exploitation and export started over a year ago. "We are exporting between 300 to 400 tons monthly," detailed Zuliani. The product is destined for the Chilean market, where the mineral is purchased, processed at the Serranías plant, and exported to China.

Hence, the intention is to implement the leaching plant in Jujuy, aiming to install it near the project, a goal they are actively pursuing. Another objective is to conduct exploration throughout the mining area.

Nine individuals work in the field, with an additional five in administrative and management roles. Zuliani mentioned plans to launch a new group of nine people, reaching eighteen, allowing for rotating shifts. "During the exploitation stage, the idea is to have two shifts of 18 people plus the support staff in the office, about five more people," he explained.

The exploitation method involves using a hydraulic hammer to break and fractionate the ore, extracting the sterile part first. "As the machine chips and breaks, we select the areas with the best mineral content, which are taken to a manual selection process, bagged in one-ton sacks, and sold as the final product," explained Tomás Fumagalli, Operations Manager at the mining company.

Small-Scale Gold Project

Regarding gold, they are working on the La Auxiliadora project, located in Carahuasi, near Orosmayo, in the Rinconada department of the province of Jujuy. It is an alluvial gold deposit resulting from erosive processes from the primary deposit and subsequent transport to river channels.

"While not purely artisanal, it is mechanized but employs gravimetric methods. Gravity is used to recover loose gold in sediments; they are washed with water, and rifles trap the gold as it flows through a channel, taking advantage of gravity," explained Tomás Fumagalli, Operations Manager.

This method eliminates the need for any chemicals, allowing sediment to settle in water, removing suspended material, and leaving the water completely clear. It is a mechanized machine that cleans sediments, disintegrates them, and then passes them through channels to recover gold.

The project began in early 2022 with the exploration phase and is currently finalizing permits to enter production.

In terms of community engagement, they always work with the surface area and the communities surrounding the project. Officially, they do not have any communities, but the nearest one is Orosmayo, and they have an agreement with the Estrada family for shelter and meals. "For the exploitation stage, the idea is to obtain local labor to contribute from that aspect as well," affirmed Zuliani.

Finally, he emphasized that Mom Mining is a highly responsible company, aiming to reach agreements with communities and surface owners. He mentioned ongoing efforts to establish an agreement for the responsible exploitation of the La Auxiliadora project, aiming to exploit and protect the heritage simultaneously, considering potential traces of gold production from the Jesuit and pre-Columbian eras.


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