A deputy from Mendoza joined the debate on mining by showing what a deposit is like inside

Interestingly, this week a report from the UNCuyo was released stating that a new contamination was detected in the Jáchal River and blamed Barrick Gold. However, the same company and Governor Sergio Uñac showed another document that says the opposite, prepared by the Catholic University of Cuyo.

The truth is that Guillermo Mosso made his publication almost at the same time that Governor Rodolfo Suarez traveled to Canada to manage investors for Potasio Río Colorado and the powerful South African mining company Gold Fields bought a gold deposit in Malargüe while the mayor of that department, Juan Manuel Ojeda wants to move forward with a zoning law so that some areas of that municipality are not covered by the law 7,722.

“In December 2019 I visited the Gualcamayo mine in Jachal, San Juan. I share this first note with the aim of showing how mining activity is carried out in a specific project. And above all, to speak and give opinions without ideologies or prejudices,” indicated the legislator allied with Cambia Mendoza in his post.

He then described his visit and the operation of the mine in what is the first of three installments he will make in the coming days on the same topic.

This is what Mosso told

“On Friday, December 13, 2019, I visited the project Guacamayo in San Juan, with the idea of ​​knowing what the mining industry is all about. I decided to get involved and investigate the subject, talking to experts and seeing with my own eyes how a mine produces. Because I think it is necessary to speak with foundation and knowledge.”

“I am convinced that we must deepen the diversification of the productive matrix of Mendoza, incorporating more activities that allow the creation of employment and generation of wealth. Mining is one of them”

“In three notes I will tell about the production processes involved in the Gualcamayo project. On this occasion, I will show a first tour of the mine, from the facilities for its workers to an explanation of how the ore is separated from the crushed rock (leaching)”

doWhat is Guacamayo?

The deposit, owned by Minas Argentinas SA, is a gold exploitation located in the department of Jáchal, in the north of the neighboring province, and is located at a height of between 1,500 and 2,000 meters above sea level, 110 km from the city from San José de Jáchal and 260 km from the city of San Juan.

The proven and probable reserves of Mina Gualcamayo reach 2,065,000 ounces of gold and the resources that are projected to be consolidated as future reserves total 1,723,000 ounces. The operation plans to produce approximately 150,000 ounces per year throughout its estimated useful life of 10 years.


A view of the mine.

The construction cost of the project was 280 million dollars, completed in 2008. During the construction stage, it generated more than 1,500 jobs and currently in its production phase, which began in April 2009, it employs some 650 people directly and 350 from contractor companies. The Gualcamayo operation is comprised of an open pit and an underground gold mine.

Entrance to the complex

When you arrive at the entry gate, the security measures to enter draw your attention because of how strict they are, as if it were an airport. Controls that include luggage scanning, metal detector, prohibition of alcohol and drug entry, are carried out both at the entrance and at the exit of the complex.


The front of the Gualcamayo complex.

The front of the Gualcamayo complex.

Once inside, on the way to the administration offices, we pass by an energy transformer station and one of the three crushing plants that Gualcamayo has, where the rocks are processed (ground) until they obtain the required caliber.

Next to it, you can see the material conveyor belts that can be more than 1,500 meters long. It is important to point out that the slope of one of these strips and the speed that it brings due to the weight of the rocks, They are used to generate energy that is then used in other processes.


Conveyor belts are over 1,500 meters long.

Conveyor belts are over 1,500 meters long.

In the administrative offices, Marcelo Agulles, the Superintendent of Community Relations & Communications from Minas Argentinas SA, the company that owns the mine, received us and detailed our tour of Gualcamayo.

In addition to showing us the different facilities and telling us about the processes that we would observe, Marcelo explained in detail the leaching process, by which the ore is separated from the crushed rock. This accumulates in batteries, inside pools that have a very thick special insulating material.

Then, those piles are irrigated with a cyanide solution of between 0.01% and 0.05% cyanide per liter of water, a proportion that would be like putting about 30 sachets of 1-gram sweetener in a 34,000-liter Australian tank. . This solution settles and drags the ore that is later collected in closed circuits to continue with the operation. In the following video, Marcelo Agulles details this process.


As a color fact, it should be noted that in 2010, the successful Argentine pop rock band Miranda!recorded in the facilities of Gualcamayo, the video clip of his song Tu Misterioso somebody, which is part of his fourth studio album, It’s impossible!

The offices

The administrative offices are located next to the mine plaza, next to the micro-hospital. The day of our visit, most of the administrative employees were free because until the previous day they had been with the consultants for the process of updating the ISO 14001 Environmental Management standards. In its corridors you can see the different international certifications as well as the company’s mission and values.


Offices and other sectors of the mine for personnel.  Also, company certifications.

Offices and other sectors of the mine for personnel. Also, company certifications.

medical services

Before starting our tour, Dr. Federico Lux, who is in charge of the microhospital, gave us a mandatory medical check-up for all visitors to the mine. Then he detailed the equipment available in his area.


The medical services sector.

The medical services sector.

Gualcamayo has a microhospital, of medium complexity that is equipped with X-ray equipment, ultrasound, defibrillators, special kits for pulmonary assistance in case of fire and cyanide treatment.

Quarters for mine staff


The places of accommodation of the workers.

The places of accommodation of the workers.

In the Gualcamayo complex, 650 direct employees work, with a work regime of seven days in the camp and seven days off, with rotating shifts of 12 hours. They live comfortably in the apartments that have been built for this purpose. In addition, they have a gym and the aforementioned medical services area.

The gym and dining rooms

The gym is a large and well-used space that has the necessary equipment for the workers to carry out different exercise routines and thus be able to complement their stay at the mine with a daily exercise routine.

The mine has 3 dining rooms that are distributed in different points, where the 4 daily meals are served for the staff.

Gualcamayo has the peculiarity of having rock extraction operations both in open pit (or open pit mine), as well as in underground galleries. in the next note we will be telling about both processes”.


Font: Provincial deputy Guillermo Mosso (PD).

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