ASX-listed Tiger Resources has announced that the solvent-extraction and electro-winning (SXEW) plant at its Kipoi copper project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has achieved commercial production of copper cathode.

Tiger Resources achieved the milestone of commercial production during July, producing 1 501 tonnes of copper cathode operating at 72% of nameplate design.

Fast-tracked commercial production

Tiger’s Managing Director Brad Marwood said the achievement of commercial production within six weeks of start-up demonstrated the quality of the project and on-site team.

“We have a very good operating team and we are vigorously pursuing the next target of full design capacity of 2 083 t per month of copper cathode,” Marwood added. “It can often take more than six months to bring an SXEW plant to full production; I expect we will beat this target.”

Tiger expects the plant to produce 14 000 tonnes of copper cathode this calendar year, and 25 000 tonnes of cathode in its first full 12 months of commercial production.

Tiger Resources’ Kipoi copper project

The Kipoi copper project is located approximately 75km NNW of Lubumbashi in the Katanga Province of the DRC. Tiger has a 60% interest in La Société d’Exploitation de Kipoi SPRL (SEK), a DRC-registered company which holds the project assets and is the operator at Kipoi.

Tiger undertook a phased development at Kipoi. Its Stage 2 solvent extraction electro-winning (SXEW) plant commenced production of copper cathode in May 2014. This first phase of the SXEW plant is expected to produce 25 000 tonnes of copper cathode in its first 12 months of commercial production. The Stage 1 heavy media separation (HMS) plant has been in production at Kipoi since 2011.

Stage 1 HMS operations have produced stockpiles with 159,600 tonnes of contained copper. These stockpiles are providing feed for the SXEW plant for the first three years of its operation.

Looking ahead for Tiger Resources

The forecasted SXEW life of mine (LOM) site cash operating cost is $1.04/lb, and forecast LOM C3 cost (all-in cost, including capital expenditure) is US$1.75/lb.

It is envisaged that ore from Judeira and other deposits within the Kipoi project area, and within the nearby 100%-owned Lupoto Project, will also be processed during the SXEW operations, providing additional returns and increasing the ore reserves available as feedstock to the SXEW plant.

Increased resources from these deposits will potentially increase the mine life and/or the annual plant throughput.

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