TSX-listed Katanga Mining has provided an update on its major projects and announced its 2019 third quarter production results at the Kamoto Copper Company.
The cobalt debottlenecking projects at Kamoto Copper Company are expected to continue throughout 2020.
Commissioning of two filter presses was completed earlier in the year, while the third filter press was commissioned during Q3 2019.
Commissioning of the magnesium oxide (MgO) plant was completed earlier in the year while commissioning of the cobalt dryers concluded with additional works required due to mechanical failure during Q3 2019.
Cobalt dryer #1 is undergoing a temporary repair which should be completed in Q4 2019.
Dryer #2 is undergoing design modifications and is expected to be commissioned during Q1 2020.
Once the permanent upgrade is completed on dryer #2, dryer #1 will be taken offline to commence the upgrade. Ramp up to full drying capacity is targeted for mid-2020.
Once full drying capacity is reached, Kamoto Copper Company will be in a position to export the dry cobalt production, including from processing accumulated cobalt inventories.
The objective of the Cobalt Projects is to upgrade the existing cobalt plant design in order to reduce bottlenecks through modification of the precipitation, thickening, filtration, drying and bagging processes.
This will align the design of the cobalt plant with the average life-of-mine cobalt production plan of 30,000 tonnes per annum.
These improvements integrate with the existing WOL processing facilities at Luilu.
The Sulphuric Acid production (Phase 1), Sulphur Dioxide production (Phase 2) and Steam Turbine Generator (Phase 3) project at KCC, continues to progress.
All civil works have been completed for Phase 1 (Sulphuric Acid Production Plant) with Phases 2 and 3 civil works scheduled for completion in Q4 2019. Structural, mechanical, plate work, piping and electrical and instrumentation installation are progressing.
Design has been completed, and some procurement items will continue into Q4 2019, but mainly relating to the Sulphur dioxide production (Phase 2) and the Steam Turbine Generator (Phase 3).
Kamoto Copper Company has received from the Directorate for the Protection of the Mining Environment (DPEM), the applicable Environmental Impact Study approvals. Commissioning of the Acid Plant is scheduled to continue through H1 2020.
Copper cathode production increased to 59,424 tonnes in Q3 2019 from 52,514 tonnes in Q2 2019.
Cobalt contained in hydroxide production increased to 4,763 tonnes in Q3 2019 from 2,607 tonnes in Q2 2019. Of the total cobalt production in Q3 2019, 97% complied with Applicable Regulations.
As previously announced in Q4 2018, Kamoto Copper Company temporarily suspended the export and sale of cobalt due to the presence of uranium detected in the cobalt hydroxide at levels that exceeded the acceptable limit allowed for export of the product through main African ports.
The low levels of radioactivity detected in the uranium to date do not present a health and safety risk.
On April 25, 2019, Kamoto Copper Company resumed the export and sale of a limited quantity of cobalt that complies with both international and local DRC transport regulations with respect to the levels of uranium contained in the cobalt hydroxide.
An aggregate of 97% of the cobalt hydroxide produced in Q3 2019 complied with international transport regulations and was also below the
acceptable limit of contained uranium allowed for export through main African ports.
Kamoto Copper Company , together with the Company and KCC’s 25% shareholder, DRC state-owned La Générale des Carrières et des Mines (“Gécamines”), has been working with the DRC government’s Ministry of Mines and the Congolese Atomic Energy Agency on a long-term technical solution in the form of an ion exchange plant.
Kamoto Copper Company has also implemented various alternative interim solutions, both operational and regulatory, resulting in the recommencement of the export and sale of a limited quantity of cobalt.
The IX Plant has been approved by the boards of the Company and KCC respectively and remains as a potential long-term option.
Following the authorization procedures of the IX Plant required by the 2018 Mining Code, the Ministry of Mines has requested KCC to submit a complete BFS for the entire KCC project rather than a feasibility study limited to the IX Plant.
Given the effectiveness of the interim solutions using phosphoric acid over the past two quarters, KCC undertook to provide a BFS for the entire KCC project by 2019 year end, which will cover the long term IX Plant option.