Message Ven 13 Sep 2013 07:36

Feasibility study to be completed by year-end

Feasibility study to be completed by year-end ... 2013-09-13

13th September 2013
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South Africa-based mining company African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) Copper, in conjuction with its joint venture (JV) partner diversified mining corporation Vale, is planning to complete a feasibility study on the second phase of the Lubambe copper mine, in Zambia, by the end of this year.

“The previous study area, known as Konkola north area A, has been renamed to Lubambe extension area and falls within the large mining licence area of Lubambe copper mine entitled 7061 – HQ – LML. This extension area is the second phase of the Lubambe copper project and provides for the exploitation of the area located 6 km to the south of the present mine development,” says ARM Copper CEO Dan Simelane.

He notes that the development of the Lubambe extension area will require a vertical shaft as well as the expansion of the Lubambe copper mine processing plant, which will potentially increase the total production to 100 000 t of copper in concentrate.

Owing to the similarity of the name Konkola North to the name of a neighbouring mine, a decision was taken to change the name to Lubambe copper mine. The name of the registered company was also changed from Konnoco to Lubambe copper mine. The newly registered name of the company has been approved by the relevant authorities in Zambia and will be used going forward.

After the inauguration of the newly elected President and government of Zambia, in October 2011, all the required agreements between government and the Vale-ARM JV were signed in Lusaka by authorised representatives of all the parties involved, to ensure tenure of the mining lease area as stipulated in the agreements, notes ARM Copper.

“Last year, Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM) exercised their right to acquire a 20% shareholding in Lubambe copper mine and fulfilled all their obligations in terms of the signed shareholders agreement. Both Vale and ARM are delighted to have ZCCM as a full-fledged partner on board with us,” he adds.

The greater Lubambe copper mine area includes the extensions of the copper mineralisation from the south-east limb area to the south (the Konkola basin) and the area to the east, previously known as Area 2 (PLLS 73), covering the Kawiri and Kawiri North basins.

ARM Copper notes that an aeromagnetic survey was conducted last year, of the areas to the east now known as the Kawiri basin and the Kawiri North basin to possibly identify further target areas.

The JV has targeted the southernmost part of the Konkola basin within the mining lease area for more detailed resource delineation drilling. The JV previously completed a prefeasibility study (PFS) on a resource of 75-million tons. The PFS showed a high probability of the area being developed.

“Prior to 2012, the aims set by the JV were to continue exploration drilling in Lubambe extension area in a phased approach for a total of 20 000 m to delineate high grade copper mineralisation in the south-east area and in the central part of the extension area. Also, geological surveys and grade models were planned to be constructed and initial resource estimation work was planned.

“By the end of the 2012 financial year, over 24 000 m of drilling were completed, delivering results slightly above expectations. Geological grade models were constructed for updating the prefeasibility and for inclusion in the feasibility study, which is planned for completion before the end of this year,” he highlights.

Simelane notes that the drilling is continuous in this area and five drill rigs were deployed in the area to enlarge the resource and increase the confidence levels. Initial drill results indicate an average reef width of about 11 m at 2.81% total copper at an average depth of 1 100 m.

He concludes that the progress of the project has been good and despite poor ground conditions and certain delays in the refurbishing of the existing No 2 shaft, the project remained on target and within budget and all critical milestones have been met.