La Libertad is an open-pit gold mine located in the Chontales department of Nicaragua. Tierra Group’s team was initially involved at La Libertad in 1998 when a geologic hazard assessment was performed, which identified a major landslide that was disrupting heap leaching operations. In 2006, processing at La Libertad was converted from heap leaching to a conventional CIP mill circuit with plans to ramp up to a 5,500 tpd production rate. At that time, Tierra Group engineers designed La Esperanza TSF, a 2.1-km long, 35-m high, earthfill tailings dam with an HDPE lined impoundment footprint of 840,000 m2.
Stage 1 of the Esperanza TSF was constructed in 2008 and commissioned in 2009. In 2012, Tierra Group engineers completed design and performed Construction Quality Assurance (CQA) for the third of four stages of dam raises and facility expansions before the useful facility life is exhausted. Tierra Group recently completed an expansion analysis to study expanding the facility beyond its originally-planned extents, and is currently designing the Stage 4 expansion. In anticipation of La Esperanza’s closure, Tierra Group has initiated a siting study to identify a new TSF location and initiated conceptual closure and reclamation planning for La Esperanza TSF.