This, hand in hand with its traditional strategy of ‘continuing to grow’ and taking advantage of the opportunities that arise. Example of this, the recent purchase of the mines Morococha, Yauliyacu and Iscaycruz. About this and his immediate plans we spoke with Fernando Arrieta, CEO of Alpayana.

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What is the meaning of Alpayana? Why did you decide to abandon the name Casapalca?

Alpayana It means ‘return to the earth’. It is a name that we looked for a lot because we wanted to reflect this change that we are making, from old mining to one mining more modern. And it is precisely about this concept: that we extract resources, but that we give back much more, in the form of help to communities, economic development and taxes to the country.

Was it difficult to change the company name?

The truth is that this idea of ​​changing the name was very hard, because it was very traditional and everyone knew it. But, in the end, we made the decision to break with that, but trying to rescue all the good that was done in Casapalca Mining.

Was this transformation decided by the family group that has run the company for decades or was it other investors?

The Gubbins family remains one hundred percent owner of the company and, the truth is, nothing changes there.

“Today we operate four mining units. One is Morococha (Argentum), which we recently acquired from Pan American Silver.”

Is it, then, the new generations?

Exact. It’s the next generation. Company Casapalca Mining It was founded by Alejandro Gubbins (in 1987) and now the main shareholders are his children.

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I remember that the family group came to operate the Yauricocha mine for a short period of time.

Yes. The grandfather of the current owners of Alpayana He founded a company called Santa Rita, which operated the Morococha mine and also, at some point, the Yauricocha mine. At that time, Alejandro decided to start a small project and founded Compañía Casapalca Mining which is basically the basis of what it is today Alpayana.

“We are focusing our efforts on consolidating what we have purchased, but if the opportunity appears we will go after it.”

And now Alpayana has purchased several mining units, including some that previously belonged to the family group. How many mines operate today?

Today we operate four mining units. One is Morococha (Argentum), which we recently acquired from Pan American Silver. We also have the mines Iscaycruz and Yauliyacu (Quenual), which we bought from Glencore. And we operate the mine Americanwhich is the traditional Casapalca.

The Americana mine or Casapalca, is the heart of Alpayana. It is located in the mountains of Lima and has almost a century of history. (Photo: Alpayana)

How have they acquired these assets?

Everything we have bought has been with our own resources, following the family strategy of continuing to grow and ‘save bread for May’. And we saw the opportunity when Pedro Castillo’s government began and fear broke out among investors and the country’s risk became higher. But we trust in Peru and that is why we decided to continue investing and take advantage of the opportunity.

Do they now see another opportunity or do they have enough to do with the mines they have acquired?

What I can tell you is that we are not in any (acquisition) process right now. We are focusing our efforts on consolidating what we have purchased, but if the opportunity appears we will go after it. We have fairly solid financial statements that allow us to continue working on that.

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In total, how much have they invested in these acquisitions?

I don’t have the exact numbers, but it’s over US$200 million.

What is the OBJETIVE? Where is the company aiming?

Our goal is to be a mining benchmark in the region. Our idea is to continue growing through acquisitions, as we have been doing. And through greenfields also. We have projects that could be much larger than what we have now.

“We are focusing our efforts on consolidating what we have purchased, but if the opportunity appears we will go after it.”

Are you referring to the project they are developing in Áncash? What’s it called?

Antarumi. It is a project of copper that we should start drilling this year as well.

Alpayana doesn’t limit its activity to the center of the country, then?

No. We have a portfolio of greenfields in Puno, Cusco, Ayacucho and Arequipa. If I start counting departments, we cover almost the entire south and also the central and northern areas. But we have given priority to Antarumi because we believe in the potential it has.

Alpayana plans to restart production work in Argentum (Morococha) in March or April of this year.  (Photo. Alpayana)

Alpayana plans to restart production work in Argentum (Morococha) in March or April of this year. (Photo. Alpayana)

INTEGRATION PROJECTS

How much mineral does Alpayana now produce?

This year we will produce 330 thousand tons of concentrate, most of it zinc. These are our projections for 2024, because we are incorporating Morococha, which was in ‘care and maintenance’, the expansion of Yauliyacu and Iscaycruz, which will begin operating again this year.

Compared to 2023, how much would they be growing in production?

We are talking, more or less, about an increase of 70%.

Is this because of the incorporation of the new mines? What adjustments are they making to them?

The good thing about Yauliyacu is that we bought it in operation. So, we are putting a lot of investment into mine advancement and preparation, and we are also making investments in the plant to increase the tonnage from 4,000 to 5,200 tons. That’s coming this year.

What work do they do in Iscaycruz and Morococha?

At Iszaycruz we are putting a lot of investment into exploratory activity, because it is a mine that was already in the process of closing with Glencore. But, the truth is that we see a enormous geological potential. That is why we are working with the communities to extend the terms of the agreements and reach agreements that are good for both. Besides, the The mine has all the permits from the environmental and plant processing point of view, which today constitute the greatest difficulties in a project.

Are you investing heavily in the exploration of Iscaycruz?

We are investing several million dollars in exploration to increase the useful life of the mining unit. And regarding Morococha (Argentum) we received her in care and maintenance.

Alpayana sees 'enormous geological potential' in Iscaycruz, a mine it has just acquired from Glenciore.  (Photo: Alpayana)

Alpayana sees ‘enormous geological potential’ in Iscaycruz, a mine it has just acquired from Glenciore. (Photo: Alpayana)

Did they receive it inoperative?

And we received it without a processing plant, so in recent months we have dedicated ourselves to reinforcing all the mine equipment and restructuring how it had been operating. In that sense, we plan to start production between March and April of this year.

Why did they receive the mine without a processing plant?

The problem that Pan American Silver had is that the land where the Morococha plant was located intersected with the mine pit. Toromocho. Then, due to an agreement they had between them, Pan American left its plant in favor of Toromocho, and at that moment made the decision to put it into care and maintenance to build a new plant. And we enter that transition.

Where will they process the Morococha ore?

We are going to process the mineral in the American mine or in Yauliyacu.

And in Americana, what projects are they developing?

One of the projects we have is, precisely, the expansion of the plant to be able to handle the mineral that will come from Morococha. And, basically, deepening activities. The mine is quite deep, but, thank God, we continue to find mineral and that helps us a lot.

How many meters have they gone deeper?

One of our great investments is Circular Pick, which will serve as a spearhead for Americana and Morococha. It is a pit 1,250 meters deep and 5 meters in diameter, which makes it one of the deepest in South America.

Finally, what is the company doing to accompany the energy transition?

The first thing is that 100% of the energy we buy is from renewable sources. That was one of the changes we made in the new (power supply) contracts. We are also working on measuring our carbon footprintand we are in the process of reducing it.



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