Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 17 June 2009 – Established and diversified mining group Metorex has achieved record production at its Ruashi copper and cobalt mine in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) during May, in the wake of a difficult start to the operation.
Fin24 quotes Miningmx as reporting that Metorex had to raise R922 million in a highly dilutive exercise late last year, largely because of the cost and time overrun at Ruashi where operational and management issues had hampered the project.
The report added that copper production at Ruashi had increased by 21% to 1 847 tonnes from 1 551 tonnes in April. Output had been 901 tonnes in January. It also revealed that cobalt production had increased by 33% month-on-month to 214 tonnes in May.
“We had a slow build-up at first, but as we go we are seeing a nice big kick-up in copper and cobalt production month to month,” Metorex CEO Terence Goodlace told Miningmx. He attributed the rise to increased throughput at the plant. The amount of ore processed at the plant had nearly doubled between January and May.
Goodlace said he found it difficult to predict whether the copper price – currently hovering above $5,000/tonne – would go up. “We have not established new equilibrium levels for the copper supply and demand. Until such a point, more certainty around the copper price is difficult.”
Metorex is also conducting an infill drilling programme at Ruashi, which it started in April and is scheduled for completion at the end of June.
Goodlace said the key reason for completing the programme was to move Ruashi’s resources from an indicated to a measured category, giving Metorex more certainty about its depletion schedule. He declined to give a production forecast for Ruashi. “Once we have completed the drilling, we will be in a much better position to provide the market with a number around full production,” he said.
Ruashi has a design capacity of 45 000 tonnes of copper and 3 500 tonnes of cobalt per annum.