The Bethania Silver Project is located in Peru. (Credit: Johnny Caspari/Unsplash)
Silver mined from the mine. (Credit: Kuya Silver Corporation)
Plan map of the status of the existing underground infrastructure. (Credit: Kuya Silver Corporation)

The Bethania Silver Project is a past-producing underground and mostly silver mine owned 100% by Kuya Silver and located on the Santa Elena Concession in the Huancavelica Department, Central Peru.

Known as the Mina Santa Elena, the mine commenced operations in 1977 and continued production till 2016 when it was put on maintenance. Historically, the project has produced concentrates of silver, lead, and zinc.

The underground development and reconditioning of the mine have been started by Kuya’s wholly owned Peruvian subsidiary Minera Toro de Plata (MTP) in January 2024. The mine is expected to resume operations in 2024.

Bethania Location and Site Access Details

The Bethania Silver Project is located about 70km southwest of Huancayo city, the capital of the Junin Department, in the high Andes of Central Peru.

The project lies about 316km from Lima, the capital city of Peru.

Covering an area of approximately 5,081 hectares, the project consists of 12 mining concessions lying near the borders of the departments of Junin, Lima, and Huancavelica.

The project can be accessed through the Pan American Highway South (Route 15) from Lima. The project site can be reached from Lima to Jauja via air followed by driving via Huancayo towards the southwest.

Bethania Ownership History

In colonial times, small-scale mining of silver veins was conducted by Spanish explorers at the Mina Santa Elena.

Modern operations commenced in 1977 and were suspended in the 1980s because of terrorism. The operations resumed in 2008 and continued till mid-2016.

In 1988, a technical report of the project was prepared by Minero Bank of Peru according to which engineer Heraclio Lopez was the owner of the mine.

S&L Andes Export SAC, owned by the Soria Family (Peru), purchased the project in 1989. S&L explored the project from 2008 to 2016.

In December 2020, Kuya acquired S&L Andes Export SAC, a Peruvian company which owned the Bethania Mine, and became the owner of the project.

Kuya renamed S&L to MTP and Aerecura Materiales S.A.C. to Kuya Silver S.A.C., a wholly owned Peruvian subsidiary of Kuya.

Currently, Aerecura Materiales holds some of the adjacent concessions included in the project.

The Santa Elena Concession of the project was not subjected to any surface exploration before Kuya purchased the project.

Bethania Geology and Mineralisation

The Santa Elena Concession of the Bethania Silver Project consists of tertiary volcanic rocks made up of andesite, dacite, and tuff. Mostly, the region is covered by vegetation and quaternary deposits.

The mineralised veins are hosted by dacite, andesite, and siliceous bodies of stockwork quartz-breccia.

The mineralisation of the project consists of volcanic and polymetallic intermediate sulphidation epithermal minerals with silver, gold, lead, zinc, and copper.

The dominant sulphide mineralisation includes silver sulfosalts, sphalerite, chalcopyrite, and galena.

Mining Methods and Processing

The quantitative analysis showed that the Conventional Cut and Fill (OCF) and Shrinkage Stoping methods were the ones which proved economical for mining ores.

The OCF method showed the best economic results as compared to Shrinkage Stoping with a 54% higher economic margin.

The ores will be processed in a concentrator plant with 350 million tons per day (mtpd) of processing capacity.

The ores will undergo two-stage crushing, a single grinding and classification stage, one bulk flotation stage, one lead/copper separation flotation stage, and one zinc flotation and regrinding stage.

The flotation material will be thickened and filtered to produce lead and zinc concentrates. To recover water, tailing will be thickened in a tailing thickener facility.

The plant will produce lead and zinc concentrates with average gradings of 0.3% copper, 4% lead, and 3% zinc.

Project Infrastructure

The existing infrastructure of the Bethania Silver Project consists of dirt roads, waste dumps, explosive magazines, a generator group (500KWh capacity), fuel storage tanks, solid waste storage area, a water neutralisation pond, and administrative facilities.

The concentrator plant area will consist of a processing facility, a tailing storage facility, overburden storage areas, a substation, and a general substation.

Key Contractors

The 2023 Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) of the Bethania Silver Project was prepared by Mining Plus.

Caracle Creek International Consulting, Atticus Geoscience Consulting, Envis, and Me Engineering & Technology supported the preparation of the 2023 PEA.