Engineering & Mining Journal

JAN 2019

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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Page 12 of 59

REGIONAL NEWS - AFRICA JANUARY 2019 • E&MJ 11 Katanga Mining Expanding Production at Kamoto Copper Katanga Mining has completed hot com- missioning of Phase 2 of the whole-ore leach (WOL) processing facility at its 75% owned Kamoto Copper copper-cobalt mine in the Kolwezi district of Lualaba province, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Com- missioning of the pre-leach circuits was continuing as scheduled in early December and was expected to be complete by the end of 2018. A progressive ramp-up of the facility is expected to achieve full capacity by the end of the first quarter of 2019. Katanga is currently forecasting pro- duction of 285,000 metric tons per year (mt/y) of copper beginning in 2019 and continuing through 2020 and 2021. Cobalt production is forecast at 26,000 mt in 2019, 32,000 mt in 2020, and 38,000 mt in 2021. "We are very pleased to have entered into the final phase of the commissioning of the WOL processing plant project after three years of hard work," Katanga CEO Johnny Blizzard said. "Following the commission- ing of Phase 1 last year, and the commis- sioning of Phase 2, we are already seeing the benefits of improved recoveries and more predictable plant performance and are looking forward to increasing production." The export of cobalt hydroxide is cur- rently suspended due to the levels of ura- nium contained in the product. While a long-term technical solution in the form of constructing an ion exchange system is being reviewed, the company intends to work with Gécamines (25% owner of the project) to look at various alternative interim solutions, both operational and regulatory, to recommence exports. Separately, good progress is being made on the construction of a cobalt debottlenecking project, which compris- es three new filter presses and an MgO reagent plant within the existing cobalt circuit and construction of two cobalt hy- droxide dryers. Katanga expects to have both upgrades in full production by the end of the first quarter of 2019. This will align cobalt processing capacity with the life-of-mine cobalt production plan of 30,000 mt/y on average and 40,000 mt/y at maximum capacity. Good progress is also being made on a sulphuric acid and sulphur dioxide plant. The earthworks for the plant have been completed, civil works have commenced, and orders for major long-lead items are beginning to arrive on site. Following a de- tailed process review, commissioning of the acid plant is expected toward the latter part of the fourth quarter of 2019, with first acid production in the first quarter of 2020. Lucapa Recovering Diamonds at the Mothae Mine in Lesotho Lucapa Diamond Co. has recovered the first diamonds from the new commercial treatment plant at the Mothae mine in Lesotho. The plant incorporates advanced diamond recovery technology, including two X-ray transmission diamond recovery modules designed to recover large and rare Type IIa diamonds ahead of the secondary crushing circuit. The system will reduce potential diamond breakage and improve the recovery of unbroken large stones. Shortly after startup, the plant recov- ered a 78-carat white diamond. The plant will be progressively ramped up to its designed 1.1-million-metric-ton- per-year (mt/y) throughput capacity fol- lowing implementation of a second plant operating shift. The Mothae mine is owned 70% by Lucapa and 30% by the government of Lesotho. Mining is based on a well-de- fined kimberlite pipe with a surface area of about 8.8 ha and a JORC-classified di- amond resource of more than 1 million carats to a depth of 300 m at an average modeled diamond value of $1,063/carat. Lucapa Managing Director Stephen Wetherall said start of commercial re- coveries through the Mothae plant rep- resented a key milestone in Lucapa's strategic development plan. "Lucapa is on track to become one of a few listed diamond companies globally with pro- duction from more than one operating mine," he said. "The high-quality nature of our production from the Lulo mine in Angola and from Mothae will also enable the group to further its value-enhancing downstream strategy through partner- ships with global diamantaires, where discussions are well advanced." Production from Mothae will comple- ment production from the Lulo mine in Angola (Lucapa 40% owner and opera- tor), which produces the world's highest average $/carat alluvial diamonds. Luca- pa operates the Lulo concession in part- nership with Angola's national diamond company, Empresa Nacional de Diaman- tes E.P. (Endiama), and private partner Rosas & Petalas. Lucapa's Mothae mine uses advanced diamond recovery equipment to safely capture large stones.

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