The construction of the Buchim mine, located in Southeastern Macedonia, began in 1976 and the plant became operational in 1979 as a conventional open pit copper and gold mine and flotation mill. The mine went bankrupt around the year 2000, due to depletion of the high-grade portion of the mine during the Yugoslavian era, combined with inefficient management, rendering the facility ill-equipped to deal with prolonged periods of low metal prices.
Solway acquired Buchim in 2005, winning the Macedonian government’s international tender.
Within a short period of time, Solway had repaired or replaced the mining fleet, and implemented upgrades to the flotation circuit.
Today, Buchim is an open pit mine that produces premium flotation concentrate containing copper, gold, and silver. It processes over 4.5 million tons of ore per year. Over 40,000 tons of the copper concentrate containing gold and silver are produced per year.
Buchim’s ore contains 0.2–0.3% of copper and 0.2–0.3 gram per ton (g/t) of gold. The copper concentrate does not contain any significant impurities and, due to its quality, is highly sought after by European smelters. The end product is transported to the copper smelters in Bulgaria.
Since 2005, Solway Investment Group has invested over €36 million into the Buchim mine. This investment has supported the modernization and development of the mine, including the installment of automated processing operations, flotation circle upgrades, the construction of a new tailings dump and reagents workshop, revegetation of an old tailing dump, and introduction of closed water consumption cycle. In 2011, the Group invested €12 million in a SXEW plant to process the oxidized portions of mineralization and to extract the resident copper from tailings that remained from previous decades of Buchim’s history. Today, the SXEW plant has a capacity of over 2,000 tons of 99.999% cathode copper per year. It also reduces the mine’s impact on the environment.
With 650 employees, the mine is the biggest local employer in the region and is fully committed to its social and environmental responsibilities.
Since 2005, Solway has invested over US $2.7 million in the development of civic infrastructure and environmental protection in the towns neighboring the Macedonian mine of Buchim. This includes, but is not limited to the maintenance of local athletic, cultural, and educational facilities; purchase of medical equipment for local hospitals; construction of local roads and other infrastructure; implementation of a closed loop and environmental management control systems.
Our operations in Macedonia have been granted complex, integrated environmental permits, as well as international certificates of environmental management systems ISO 14001 and production system management ISO 9001.
In addition to Bucim Mine, the Group intends to develop the Borov Dol project that extends Bucim’s LOM until at least year 2028. The proposed mining area contains proven and prospective reserves of 42,5 MM tons of ore at 0,235% copper and 0,20 g of gold.A substantial further increase of Life-Of-Mine is expected from the delineating of new reserves to the north along the strike of the ore-body.
In 2018, USD 21 million will be invested into the road, transporter, and the mine infrastructure construction as well as stripping operations. Total capital investments in the Borov Dol project are estimated at USD 67 million including pre-striping. By the end of 2019 the Borov Dol mine is planned to be put into operation. First ore is expected to be extracted by September 2019.