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Weatherly International has outlined a recovery plan for its Tschudi copper mine in Namibia, following a significant water ingress on 11 May 2018.

The recovery strategy and expenditure plan, which will require a capital investment of N$14,300,000, has been approved and work is underway to increase pumping capacity to lower and stabilise the water levels in all pits and allow mining operations to regain access to ore.

The plan is expected to restore normalised production levels at Tschudi by December 2018.

Orion Mine Finance remains supportive of management endeavours to stabilise the operation.

John Sisay, CEO of Weatherly Mining Namibia says: “We are confident that with the necessary financial assistance we will be able to implement the recovery plan and restore normalised production levels at Tschudi by December 2018.

"We are appreciative of the support and understanding from the Ministry of Mines & Energy, the Namibian Government at large and all other stakeholders during this challenging time.”

Outlining the recovery strategy

Specialist water expert, Bob Kinnell from Strategic Water Management in Australia conducted an assessment of water risk and developed a recovery strategy for the mine.

 The recovery strategy is based on a 12-week delivery and includes:

  • Water abstraction, related to all equipment and infrastructure required to reduce water levels in the pits and to pump it into the canal that runs along the footwall of the pit;
  • Water discharge, dealing with moving the water away from the open pit mining area and discharging it at re-injection areas which have been approved Department of Water Affairs; and
  • Implementation of various supporting actions to improve water management post recovery.

Progress to date

The recovery phase is now well underway with end-June target water levels achieved.

Abstraction capacity has been increased from 1,400 m3/hr to 3,000m3/hr through the rental of additional diesel-driven pumps and installation of 1,800 m of high-pressure HDPE pipelines.

A canal and settling dam are now fully commissioned to handle the water discharge, with the canal capable of handling more than 6,000 m3/hr.

Distribution from the settling dam is maximised with current installed infrastructure at 2,000 m3/hr to direct water to various discharge points via a storm water pond, with the balance of the water overflowing the settling dam back into the aquifer.

Additional infrastructure is planned to increase distribution by 2,000 m3/hr from the settling dam by the end of July.

Significant progress has been made to design, cost and implement a significant upgrade of the dewatering infrastructure.

The system will be upgraded to increase abstraction and discharge rate to a nominal 3,000 m3/hr via a predominantly electric grid-power system.

The system will be developed in three phases at an estimated capital cost of N$44-million. This will include an additional grid-power substation to increase power supply to Tschudi by 4MVA to 12MVA.

The management of Weatherly remains confident in the future financial viability of Tschudi mine.