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Katanga production on the rise

Katanga’s Kamoto
concentrator, which
has a design capacity
of 7.5 Mtpa of ore
London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 15 May 2008 – Katanga Mining Limited – which operates a large-scale copper-cobalt project with substantial high-grade mineral reserves and integrated metallurgical operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – is predicting copper production of 30 500 tonnes of copper and 1 600 tonnes of cobalt in 2008.

A project and production update released here yesterday confirmed that copper cathode production increased each month during the first quarter, as well as in April, and that cobalt metal production is now under way. It said concentrate production of 43 500 tonnes for the year is expected to add 3 000 tonnes of payable copper and 1 300 tonnes of payable cobalt.

Although below plan, performance at the Kamoto underground mine continued a positive trend, with production and development both increasing, and ore development ahead of forecast in April, the update added. At the Musonoie-T17 and Tilwezembe open pits, mining is consistently exceeding plan.

The Kolwezi concentrator – which was shut down during the first quarter for extensive maintenance – resumed operation last month. Expected concentrate production output for the balance of the year is at least 4 500 tonnes per month, giving a total 43 500 tonnes output for the year.

The update also revealed that Phase II of the Kamoto rehabilitation was expected to be completed by the end of 2008 at a capital cost of US$136 million (more than R1 billion). A second sulphide cascade mill was being rehabilitated and 58 floatation cells were being added to the circuit in the Kamoto concentrator.

At the Luilu metallurgical plant, a new roaster is being constructed, and leaching capacity and copper and cobalt electro-winning capacity will be doubled, according to the update. Capacity will be increased to about 100 000 tpa of copper cathode.

It said the feasibility study for the expansion project is scheduled to be completed by the end of the third quarter. Waste stripping at the KOV pit will begin in the third quarter, the surrounding dewatering-well field is progressing on track, and dewatering of the KOV pit itself is scheduled to start in the fourth quarter of 2008.