Lusaka, Zambia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 17 November 2008 – Zambia’s Lumwana copper mine – one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper deposits, and ranked by many as Africa’s biggest emerging copper mine – has commenced pre-production tests, and is stockpiling crushed copper ore in preparation for commissioning and final copper production later this month.
Fully owned by Equinox Minerals Limited of Australia, the mine – which is situated in north-west Zambia – is in the process of commissioning the remainder of its processing plants. The owners say it will produce an average of 172 000 tonnes per year of copper metal contained in concentrates for the first six years of its 37-year mine life. They expect it to reach full production during the course of 2009.
Reuters quotes Equinox as confirming that crushing operations had started, and that crushed material was being stockpiled in preparation for commissioning of the remainder of the Lumwana project process plant. “The company expects to commence commissioning of the plant this month,” Equinox added.
The company added that it had accepted from its contractor handover of the Lumwana project primary crushing and conveying circuit, and had successfully commissioned and put into production its first large-scale Hitachi EX5500-6 electric shovel.
“In testing prior to hand-over, the crushing circuit – which includes the company’s 4.5 km overland conveyor – had crushed and transported over 150 000 tonnes of material, easily exceeding its design throughput rate of 3 309 tonnes per hour,” Equinox said.
It explained that consistent rates in excess of 4 000 tonnes per hour were achieved as part of this process, and that these rates represented approximately 30 million tonnes per annum.