The plant conveyor
system at Equinox’s
Lumwana copper mine
 
Perth, Australia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 29 September 2009 – Equinox Minerals Limited “’ owner of Africa’s biggest copper mine “’ has confirmed that it expects to reach full production at its Lumwana project in north-western Zambia by the middle of next year.

Equinox is an international mining company dual-listed on the Canadian and Australian stock exchanges and focused on its Zambian operation.

“Once we are up to full-steam production, we should be able to achieve something of the order of 170 000 metric tonnes of copper output a year,” said CEO Craig Williams in an interview with Bloomberg News. “At the end of the second quarter we should be hopefully getting pretty close to full productivity.”

Equinox cut its 2009 output target by as much as 35% last month because of insufficient availability of mining equipment and what it called “challenges in processing ore.” The US$841 million (R6.7 billion) Lumwana mine “’ Zambia’s largest foreign investment project “’ began production in December 2008.

“The key thing you try to do is to have the mine output the same as the mill throughput,” Williams explained. “We’re not achieving that yet, and we’re working on various productivity improvement programmes to increase that mine output.”

“The company is looking at global takeover opportunities to expand, probably in copper,” Williams said, adding that Equinox was not “actively” involved in takeover talks at present.

“In a couple of years’ time I think we’ll have more than one producing asset. The focus is certainly on looking for producing assets,” he added.

“We’re heading into a bit of a crunch point,” said Williams. “Although demand has flattened out from what it was a couple of years ago, it’s still ticking along, and there’s no supply coming through. The medium trend should see prices go north.”