Q4 2012 marked the first full quarter of commercial production for Kevitsa. Throughput rates exceeded expectations whilst recoveries were below life of mine targets due to the weathered nature of the initial ore processed. Slightly lower feed grades in line with life of mine plans have resulted in lower output of copper and nickel compared to Q3 2012.
There has been steady improvement in both mining capacity and the efficiency of machinery operations, the latter of which has been affected during the first period of commercial production in the Arctic winter.
Nickel and copper cash costs increased over Q3 2012 with a ramp up in contractor usage and maintenance costs in line with plan and higher electricity costs due to an increase in electricity tariffs which is normal for the time of year. Copper by-product credits decreased from Q3 2012 as Q3 2012 benefited from the sale of production from the commissioning phase. Nickel by-product credits were unfavorably impacted by some stockpiling of nickel concentrate in the quarter.
Production in 2013 is expected to be between 15,000 and 19,000 tonnes of copper, between 9,000 and 10,000 tonnes of nickel and 12,000 to 14,000 ounces of gold.
In Q1 2013 mining is planned to ramp up to a full seven days per week shift roster as opposed to the five days per week system implemented for the majority of 2012. Mining volumes have been set at 12.9 Mt of waste and 7.3 Mt of ore equating to a strip ratio of 1.8. The amount of weathered ore going into the plant is expected to reduce in the first half of 2013. Pre-stripping the Stage 2 cutback will commence in the first half of 2013.
A focus on improving nickel recoveries and achieving pilot study levels has been ongoing for several months. Different scenarios of flotation kinetics are being trialed and sampled during Q1 2013 for further optimization work.
The Company has submitted an environmental assessment and application to increase the plant throughput rate from the current approved 5.5 Mtpa up to a maximum of 10 Mtpa. Liaison with the relevant authorities is in progress with respect to granting of the upgraded permit.
Kansanshi expansions, Zambia
The multi-stage Kansanshi plant upgrade to an annual production capacity of 400,000 tonnes of copper continues into 2013. The stage one oxide circuit expansion to 7.2 Mtpa was completed in Q2 2012 and optimized during Q3 2012 with the benefits being seen in the oxide throughput of Q4 2012. Progress on the stage two oxide capacity expansion to 14.5 Mtpa continued with a phased commissioning commencing from mid-2013. The expansion encompasses additional crushing, flotation, leach tanks, CCD thickeners, solvent extraction, electro-winning and associated ancillary systems and equipment. Acid supply and economics will dictate the rate of oxide treatment until the smelter is commissioned in mid-2014 however the output of the five acid plants as well as the current volume of acid that can be externally sourced will allow for interim treatment rates of approximately 10 Mtpa.
The second phase of the 400,000 tonne annual production capacity expansion project is an expansion of the sulphide treatment facilities by construction of a new section of plant capable of treating up to 25 Mtpa of sulphide ore. Board approval has been granted for the project and construction of this new plant is planned to commence in the first half of 2013.
Most Popular Stories
- Twitter Coming to Phones Without Internet
- Entravision Initiates Quarterly Cash Dividend
- NASA Fellowships, Scholarships Bring Diversity to Workforce
- Dish Network Leads 2013 Top 50 Advertisers List
- Warner Bros. Unleashes 'Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug' Merchandise
- Shanghai Smog Forces Factory Shutdowns
- Amanda Bynes Enrolls in California's FIDM
- How to Arm Yourself Against CryptoLocker Virus
- Networks Vie for U.S. Hispanic TV Viewers
- Ad Counts Rise in 2013 for Hispanic Magazines