Lumwana plant
overview at night
 
Toronto, Canada — MININGREVIEW.COM — 21 July 2008 – Canadian (Toronto) and Australian-listed Equinox Minerals Limited – an international exploration and mine development company – has announced a six-month delay in the completion of its Lumwana copper project in north-western Zambia.

The company reported two weeks ago that a fire had caused damage to a 20MVA transformer and adjacent 11kV substation. This equipment formed part of the process plant facility currently being commissioned by the company’s EPC contractor, the Ausenco-Bateman joint venture (ABV).

Since then, assessments have been conducted by independent experts, insurance loss adjusters and ABV engineers to identify equipment that will require replacement. Remediation of the damaged area has begun and ordering of requisite replacement items has commenced.

In a statement released here, Equinox advises that the recovery schedule and project hand-over from the EPC contractor – based on current lead times for the replacement, installation and testing of the new equipment – is now expected to be December 2008. The first concentrate had been scheduled for production this month.

Equinox president and CEO Craig Williams commented: “While this is an unfortunate event, our focus remains on delivering a world class asset and facilities to our shareholders and the people of Zambia. Lumwana is a project that will deliver strong returns and provide significant scope for expansion in the near future.

Equinox says the Lumwana mine will produce an average 188 000 tpa of copper in concentrate for the first five years. Over the life of mine of 17 years, Lumwana is forecast to produce 150 000 tpa of copper.

Pre-production capital costs for the Lumwana copper project have been pegged at US$762 million (R6 billion). This includes the mining fleet in which a total of US$160 million (almost R1.3 billion) will be invested.