Eritrea – Dual-listed Nevsun Resources is 60% complete with the Bisha zinc expansion project at its Bisha base metals mine, located in the East African country of Eritrea, which will average over 100 000 t of zinc and 24 000 t of copper per year for 10 years after start up in mid-2016.
The project remains on schedule with engineering design 89% complete, procurement 60% complete, site construction 21% complete for an overall project progress of nearly 60% as of March 31, 2015.
The major infrastructure and equipment engineering has been complete for some time with only minor tie-ins and minor modifications outstanding.
Procurement of mechanical, piping, electrical and automation packages are mostly finished, while the most critical civils component of construction is complete and steel erection by onsite specialist contractors has commenced.
To date, the foundations and civil work has been completed with steel erection under way; the flotation cells have been transported to site, and the regrind mills will soon be in country.
The aim of the Bisha mine zinc expansion project is to add zinc flotation capacity to the Bisha processing plant. This zinc flotation plant floats zinc concentrate after existing copper flotation, enabling the production of two products, namely zinc and copper concentrate as required to process primary ores.
The overall capital forecast to complete the project is US$92 million inclusive of a $6 million contingency.
Combined concentrate production is expected to average about 300 000 t per year, not dissimilar to 2014 production rates.
No additional capital is therefore required for the land transport or port infrastructure to export the copper and zinc concentrates produced from the zinc expansion starting in mid-2016.
Nevsun CEO Cliff Davis says: “We take a diligent approach to capital project management to complete projects on time and on budget. Our decision at the start of the zinc project to strengthen the owner’s construction team with a more integrated EPCM approach has realised additional savings. We are confident that the robust flotation process plant will facilitate potential future throughput expansions and extended mine life. We have also been careful not to commit any of our zinc off-take so as to take advantage of the expected tightening of worldwide zinc supply”.