Tenke Fungurume’s operational status and achievements have continued to impress since it delivered its first copper in 2009. Today it is one of the largest copper producers in the DRC and the world’s premier cobalt producer as well. And while the mine achieved its best production figures yet (in 2013), following a mine and process plant expansion, its potential to grow further is already on parent company Freeport-McMoRan’s radar, writes Laura Cornish.
Katanga, DRC-based Tenke mine owner Tenke Fungurume Mining (TFM), in which Freeport-McMoRan (FMX) owns a 56% stake, has realised a steady and substantial increase in copper and cobalt production between 2011 and 2013 – climbing in the space of two years from 127 000 to 209 800 t (metric) of copper and 11 200 to12 800 t of cobalt.
The production spike, “whose numbers represented record copper sales for TFM in 2013, is primarily the result of a second phase expansion project in early 2013, which included optimising the current plant and increasing mine, mill and processing capacity. The expanded mill facility throughput rates averaged 14 900 tpd of ore last year, compared with original design capacity of 14 000 tpd. Possible additional expansions down the line are expected to be completed in 2016,” says Horst Garz, TFM general manager.