Situated in in Lualaba Province in the DRC, the Luilu site where the WOL and electro-winning plants of KCC are located, successfully produced its first copper cathode on 11 December 2017.
Copper and cobalt production at KCC has been suspended since September 2015 pending the construction of the WOL project. A progressive ramp-up and commissioning of the remainder of the first train is expected to follow over the ensuing three months, with the objective of achieving full capacity on the first train by the end of Q1, 2018.
Johnny Blizzard, CEO of Katanga, commented: “We are very pleased to have met our anticipated budget and timetable for commissioning the first train of our new plant and are optimistic that the tangible improvements from using a whole ore leach processing circuit will be seen in the near future. We look forward to ramping up to full production capacity of the first train. The construction of the second train of the WOL plant is also on schedule and budget and hot commissioning is still expected to commence in H2, 2018.”
Separately, the company announces today that its board of directors has approved capital expenditure budgets for the engineering and construction of an upgraded cobalt processing plant and a sulphuric acid production plant at KCC.
The board approved US$15.8 million in capital expenditures to engineer and construct a facility designed to reduce throughput bottlenecks in its existing cobalt processing circuit at KCC to align with the life of mine cobalt production plan of 30 000 tpa average annual cobalt production.
The board also approved $49 million for cobalt product dryers as part of the cobalt production circuit. The hot commissioning of the projects is expected to commence in Q4, 2018.
Subject to the successful completion of the second train of the WOL plant and of the cobalt debottlenecking project, both of which hot commissioning is expected to commence in H2, 2018, Katanga anticipates the following production forecast for the next three financial years, at the end of which period, it expects to have a first quartile cost position within the global copper industry cost curve:
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The board also approved $237 million in capital expenditure spread over 2018 and 2019 to construct a sulphuric acid and sulphur dioxide production plant at KCC.
This will improve the reliability of the supply of these reagents to the WOL processing circuit. The acid plant is designed to produce 1 900 tpd of sulphuric acid, 200 tpd of suphur dioxide and 17 MW co-generated power.
This will reduce KCC’s reliance on imported volumes of reagents brought to the mine through various international borders. The Internal Rate Of Return (IRR) for the sulphuric acid and sulphur dioxide production plant project is expected to be approximately 60%.
The hot commissioning of this plant is expected to commence in H2, 2019.