Engineering & Mining Journal

AUG 2018

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Page 23 of 107

REGIONAL NEWS - AFRICA 22 E&MJ • AUGUST 2018 Commissioning Begins at Gamsberg Vedanta Zinc International is nearing startup of its Gamsberg open-pit zinc mine in South Africa's Northern Cape Province and expects to produce the first zinc concentrate by early September. Feeding of ore to the front end of the plant (run-of-mine crusher, conveyor and coarse-ore stock pile sections) began in early July to build the required crushed- ore stockpile. First feed to the flotation and dewatering sections of the plant was scheduled for the end of July. Phase 1 of the Gamsberg project will have a mine life of 13 years, producing an expected 4 million metric tons per year (mt/y) of concentrator feed from the open-pit mine and 250,000 mt/y of zinc in concentrate. Ramp up to full produc- tion will take from nine to 12 months. The bulk of Gamsberg concentrate production will be shipped to zinc smelt- ers from the port at Saldanha on South Africa's west coast. Some concentrate will be delivered to Vedanta's Skorpion zinc refinery in southern Namibia. Gamsberg has a large reserve and re- source of 214 million mt at an average grade of between 6% and 6.5% zinc and an estimated mine life of 30 years through three phases of production. Waste pre-stripping of the Gamsberg open pit was completed at the end of June. In total, 67.2 million mt of waste was pre-stripped, and 487,000 mt of ore had been mined, against an initial target of a 500,000-mt ore stockpile be- fore plant commissioning. The mine was consistently achieving a production rate of 4 million mt/month to 4.5 million mt/ month of overall rock mining, and this rate is expected to continue into the oper- ational phase of the project. The necessary water and power infra- structure (a 38-km water pipeline with pumping and storage and 20-km of pow- erlines with a main receiving substation) have been successfully commissioned and are delivering water and power at the required capacity. Construction of the 117-ha high-density-polyethylene-lined tailings storage facility is complete and ready to receive tailings. Gamsberg's permanent operational staff will total about 700, and about 90% of these employees had been hired and were on site in early July. Kibali Underground Ramp-up Continues Gold production at the Kibali mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo is rising steadily on the back of the optimization of its automated underground operation, and it is on track to beat its guidance of 730,000 ounces (oz) for this year, Rand- gold Resources CEO Mark Bristow said. The record results expected for the sec- ond quarter were achieved without a sin- gle lost-time injury, Bristow added. Following the example of Randgold's Loulo underground mines, Kibali had suc- cessfully transitioned from contract mining to owner mining earlier this month, Bris- tow said. As at Loulo, the move is expected to deliver significant cost and efficiency benefits, while accelerating the transfer of skills to the mine's Congolese workforce. "Kibali hosts one of the world's larg- est underground gold mines and the aim of owner mining is to give us complete control over the day-to-day operations, with everyone focused on the same goal and compliance with the mining plan," Bristow said. "We're confident that we'll achieve the same results here as we did at Loulo, but we've tweaked that model a little to take into account the lessons we learned there as well as Kibali's specif- ic circumstances. We've also brought in personnel who were involved in the Loulo transition to support Kibali's Congolese workforce with the transition." A further major milestone is being passed with the current commissioning of Azambi, Kibali's third and last hydropower station and its only remaining significant capital project. Azambi is expected to start delivering power within the next month. SEMAFO Pours First Gold at Boungou Mine On June 28, SEMAFO Inc. reported it had completed its first gold pour at the Boun- gou mine in Burkina Faso, slightly ahead of the original schedule. The first pour yield- ed approximately 325 ounces (oz) of gold. Dry and wet commissioning of the Boungou processing plant, as well as construction, are now complete. The ver- timill and SAG mill are working according to design and have achieved the designed hourly throughput and grind size. Com- mercial production is expected in August. "The first gold pour at Boungou marks an important milestone in SEMAFO's growth trajectory as it signals the beginning of a significant increase in production and cash flow," said Benoit Desormeaux, pres- ident and CEO of SEMAFO. "This achieve- ment reflects a true team effort. This major milestone was achieved while maintaining an exceptional safety record of 5.5 million hours without lost-time injury." At the end of May, 17.2 million of the projected 18 million metric tons (mt) of pre-strip had been completed at Boungou and approximately 172,000 mt of ore had been stockpiled for future process- ing, in line with our expectations. The new Gamsberg concentrator is expected to produce 250,000 mt/y of zinc in concentrate.

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