Falcondo - Larga, Loma Ortega, Fraser, Peguera, Taina, Guardarraya

Dominican Republic

Main commodities: Ni
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The Falcondo operation of Falconbridge Dominicana, C. por A. is located near Bonao in La Vega Province, some 80 km north of Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two thirds of the island of Hispaniola, which is separated from the easternmost tip of Cuba to the west by the 75 km wide Windward Passage.

The operation has a production capacity of 32 000 tpa of contained nickel as ferro-nickel (40% Ni, 60% Fe). To date it has produced approximately 620 000 t of contained Ni since the operation commenced in 1971. Ore is currently (2000) taken from six mining areas, Larga, Loma Ortega, Fraser, Peguera, Taina and Guardarraya. These six areas occur in a string of hills that extend for up to 15 km from the processing plant and lie at between 200 and 600 m above sea level.

The lateritic ore below the overburden averages 7 m in thickness, but varies from a few metres to 40 m. The deposits were developed over serpentinised ultramafic rocks, with weathering and lateritisation commencing during the Miocene uplift. Repeated uplifts have led to at least four physiographic cycles and the development of a mature lateritic profile. The complete profile is sub-divided from top to bottom into:

    Zone A - a chocolate-brown limonite;
    Zone B - ochre brown limonite;
    Zone C - soft serpentine;
    Zone D - hard serpentine;
    Zone E - serpentinised peridotite; and
    Zone F - ultramafic rock.

Zones A and F are rarely ore grade. The rocky ore of Zones D and E account for 40% of the total ore reserves while limonite ore of Zone B is 25% of the reserves. Nickeliferous serpentine is the major crystalline phase of Zone C. In this zone and deeper, crystalline quartz is found, particularly in fracture zones where it is often accompanied by garnierite.

The proven and probable reserve in 1999 was 68 Mt @ 1.18% Ni, with a further 19 Mt @ 1.15% Ni in resource.

The original pre-mining reserve in 1971 was 66 Mt @ 1.58% Ni.

Annual production capacity in 2000 was around 2.7 Mt of ore.

Proven + probable reserves in 2006 were quoted at 54 Mt @ 1.2% Ni.

The bedrock is composed of extensively serpentinised ultra-mafics with 0.15 to 0.35%, but averaging 0.28% Ni, 5.2% Fe, 0.02% Co. Cash operating costs in 1998 were USD 1.82/lb Ni.

The most recent source geological information used to prepare this summary was dated: 2000.    
This description is a summary from published sources, the chief of which are listed below.
© Copyright Porter GeoConsultancy Pty Ltd.   Unauthorised copying, reproduction, storage or dissemination prohibited.


  References & Additional Information
   Selected References:
Anonymous  1975 - Nickel Mining in the Dominican Republic: in    Mining Magazine, December 1975    pp 439-444
Ferguson B A, Camposano G, Aponte J  1979 - Falconbridge Dominicana, Ore Handling and Preparation: in Evans D J I, Shoemaker R S, Veltman H (Eds),  International Laterite Symposium, New Orleans, Louisiana, Feb, 19 to 21, 1979 Soc Mining Engineers, of the AIMM&PE, New York    pp 152-168
Haldemann E G, Buchan R, Blowes J H, Chandler T  1979 - Geology of Lateritic Nickel Deposits, Dominican Republic: in Evans D J I, Shoemaker R S, Veltman H (Eds),  International Laterite Symposium, New Orleans, Louisiana, Feb, 19 to 21, 1979 Soc Mining Engineers, of the AIMM&PE, New York    57-84
Lithgow E W   1993 - Nickel Laterites of Central Dominican Republic. Part 1: Mineralogy and Ore Dressing: in Reddy R G, Weizenbach R N (Eds),  The Paul E Queneau International Symposium, Extractive Metallurgy of Copper, Nickel and Cobalt The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society   v1 pp 403-425
Tauler, E., Lewis, J.F., Villanova-de-Benavent, Aiglsperger, T., Proenza, J.A., Domenech, C., Gallardo, T., Longo, F. and Gali, S.,  2017 - Discovery of Ni-smectite-rich saprolite at Loma Ortega, Falcondo mining district (Dominican Republic): geochemistry and mineralogy of an unusual case of hybrid hydrous Mg silicate - clay silicate type Ni-laterite: in    Mineralium Deposita   v.52, pp. 1011-1030.

Porter GeoConsultancy Pty Ltd (PorterGeo) provides access to this database at no charge.   It is largely based on scientific papers and reports in the public domain, and was current when the sources consulted were published.   While PorterGeo endeavour to ensure the information was accurate at the time of compilation and subsequent updating, PorterGeo takes no responsibility what-so-ever for inaccurate or out of date data, information or interpretations.

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