Windhoek, Namibia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 24 November 2008 – Weatherly International plc – an AIM-quoted integrated base metals producer with copper mining and smelting operations in Namibia – has closed its Tsumeb West and Matchless copper mines.
Confirming this development, allAfrica.com – citing the Namibia Economist – quoted CEO Rod Webster as saying: “In late October, Weatherly moved to close the small Tsumeb West mine, and redeployed the bulk of the workforce to replace the contractor EPS at the company’s Tschudi mine.” He added that the company’s Matchless mine near Windhoek, which is also operated by contractors, is currently in the process of closure and will be placed on care and maintenance.
“Weatherly will continue to review its operations in response to volatility in copper prices,” Webster emphasised, “and is prepared to take further action to reduce long-term costs if the situation demands it.”
He went on to say that the company’s Ausmelt furnace was now fully operational, and annual smelting capacity was expected to increase from 24 000 to 35 000 tonnes of copper blister per year.
"This increase in capacity represents a significant step towards building a stand-alone smelter capable of processing complex concentrates from both Weatherly’s own assets and other mining companies elsewhere,” Webster concluded.
The company’s smelting operations are relatively unaffected by the current copper price slump, as they receive the bulk of their revenues from the custom treatment of imported concentrates. Currently two contracts are in place to supply approximately 100000 tonnes per annum of concentrates from mines in Bulgaria and Peru for a three-year period.