Tag Archives: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Alphamin bolsters gravity separation options with second Gekko IPJ

Alphamin Resources has purchased a second IPJ2400 for tin recovery at the Bisie tin project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gekko Systems says.

The purchase of a second Gekko InLine Pressure Jig (IPJ) unit follows good performance from the first IPJ installed at this site in 2018 (pictured).

In addition, the Ririwai tin project has purchased an IPJ1500 in Nigeria.

The IPJ is a continuous gravity separation device that rapidly and efficiently pre-concentrates high-value and high-density mineral particles such as tin, tantalum, sulphides and free gold, Gekko says.

With installations worldwide, the unit has multiple applications including assisting in gangue rejection and combining with flotation to recover coarse minerals at the plus-100 micron range. The IPJ has significant benefits such as low water consumption, low footprint, ease of operation and 30 years of operational history.

SRK Consulting helps DRC miner with social development ‘first’

A large mining company in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has – with assistance from SRK Consulting Congo – become the first to have its Cahier de Charge (Social Term Sheet) approved, the mining consultant says.

Regulations introduced in the DRC in 2018 require mines to set out a clear and financially-provisioned five-year plan for local social development – a Cahier de Charge – in consultation with local communities and stakeholders. According to Susa Maleba, Country Manager at SRK Consulting Congo, the key aspect of the new requirement was that effective consultation be conducted.

“Mines generally have community development plans but these are often designed by the mine, which historically had little formalised input from local communities or other stakeholders,” said Maleba. “This compulsory consultative process – as part of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment – ensures that mine initiatives align with the real needs and preferences of those affected by the mine.”

The mining company contracted SRK Consulting Congo to work with its DRC mine on planning and implementing the consultation. This process began in 2018 and lasted four months. The final agreement between the communities and the company was signed off in March 2019.

Established a decade ago in Lubumbashi, the local SRK office appointed its stakeholder engagement specialist, Philippe Katuta, to guide the process.

Susa Maleba, Country Manager at SRK Consulting Congo

“As an experienced local expert who is well regarded by the mining communities, Phillipe supervised the process with the client – facilitating contact between the mine, three local communities, the ‘chefferies’ tribal structure and provincial government,” Maleba said.

He highlighted the importance of having the trust of all parties in the consultation, to ensure frank engagement and effective buy-in. This, in turn, helped ensure proper implementation of the agreed plan, so that the intended benefits would be achieved, according to SRK.

“Essential factors in the success of the process included our experience in stakeholder engagement and our local knowledge – from local language communication to the traditions and customs to be observed,” Maleba said. “Working with mining companies, we emphasise the social licence aspect of their strategy and operations – which prioritises close working relationships with partners, communities and government. It means applying the spirit – not just the letter – of the law.”

Among the social development imperatives highlighted by communities during the engagements were transformers to link with the country’s power grid, boreholes for access to water, agricultural extension programs and trade training for local youth.

Maleba acknowledged that it was seldom easy to balance the expectations of communities with the financial resources of the mining company, but this made the relationship of trust a vital foundation for collaboration.

He also noted that the new regulations provided for ongoing monitoring of mines’ community development plans – to ensure that what was promised was in fact delivered, in line with a predetermined schedule.

Kamoa-Kakula copper project continues to track ahead of schedule, Ivanhoe says

Ivanhoe Mines Co-Chair Robert Friedland has hinted in its latest announcement that the Kamoa-Kakula project, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, could produce first copper ahead of its planned September quarter 2021 schedule.

Friedland and fellow Co-Chair, Yufeng “Miles” Sun, said underground development at the Kakula copper mine continued to exceed expectations with more than 18.7 km now complete – 5.5 km ahead of schedule.

In July, the mining team achieved 1,638 m of underground development, which was 257 m ahead of plan for the month.

Ivanhoe says the Kamoa-Kakula project is unique as it combines ultra-high copper grades in thick, shallow and relatively flat-lying deposits – allowing for large-scale, highly-productive, mechanised underground mining operations.

Initial production at the Kakula mine is scheduled for the September quarter of 2021, with Kakula projected to be the world’s highest-grade major copper mine with an initial mining rate of 3.8 Mt/y at an estimated average feed grade in excess of 6% Cu over the first five years of operation.

The mine will have one of the most favourable environmental footprints of any tier-one copper mine, according to Ivanhoe. “It will be powered by clean, renewable hydroelectricity and be among the world’s lowest greenhouse gas emitters per unit of copper produced,” the company said. “It also will have a relatively tiny surface footprint as approximately 55% of the mine’s tailings will be pumped back into underground workings.” The latter is through a paste backfill plant that Beijing-based CITIC Construction is constructing.

The majority of the development headings at the Kakula mine currently are traversing medium-grade sections of the orebody, with average grades ranging between 3-5% copper. Several development headings are in higher-grade zones averaging between 5-8% copper, and this ore is being placed on a dedicated, high-grade surface stockpile at Kakula North that currently totals some 116,000 t grading an estimated 6.08% Cu. The lower-grade surface stockpiles at Kakula North, Kakula South and Kansoko together contain an additional 446,000 t grading an estimated 2.73% Cu.

As Kakula’s underground development progresses over the next few months, most of the working areas are expected to transition into the higher-grade ore zones near the centre of the deposit that have copper grades approximately 5-8%, Ivanhoe said.

Meanwhile, the high-capacity ore conveyor system at the Kakula North declines, which has a capacity of 2,000 t/h, is undergoing final commissioning and is expected to begin continuous operations shortly. Once this happens, the ore mined in the northern portion of the Kakula mine will be combined and placed on a blended surface stockpile. The Kakula South and Kansoko declines are not equipped with conveyor systems; as such, the ore mined from these deposits will continue to be placed on separate surface stockpiles, based on copper grades.

More than 300 truckloads, consisting mainly of structural steel and equipment for Kakula’s initial 3.8 Mt/y processing plant, are expected to arrive at the mine site before the end of August. Fabrication of the plant’s largest components – two ball mills, each measuring 9.75 m long and 6.1 m in diameter – has been completed at CITIC Heavy Industries’ factory in Luoyang, China, and the third and final shipment of ball mill components is expected to be on site by the end of September.

“The construction team at Kakula, led by Mark Farren, Kamoa Copper’s CEO, has done a fantastic job of keeping the project moving ahead at a rapid pace despite the logistical challenges posed by COVID-19,” Friedland said. “With each passing month, we are getting increasingly confident that we could be producing copper at Kakula ahead of schedule.

“We’re in a good place at the moment, with the vast majority of the major equipment needed to build the mine and processing plant already fabricated, and either at site, or en route to site. Full credit goes to our entire team for implementing and adhering to early and extraordinary measures to safeguard our workforce and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the mine development and construction operations.”

The Kamoa-Kakula copper project is a joint venture between Ivanhoe Mines (39.6%), Zijin Mining Group (39.6%), Crystal River Global Limited (0.8%) and the DRC government (20%).

The independent Kakula definitive feasibility study (DFS) and an updated Integrated Development Plan (IDP) for the entire Kamoa-Kakula mining complex is expected to be finalised shortly, Ivanhoe said. The IDP will include details on the planned expansion phases for the greater Kamoa-Kakula mining complex, incorporating updates for mineral resources, production rates and economic analysis.

Basic engineering design and costing for Kamoa-Kakula’s planned Phase 2 expansion, taking production from 3.8 Mt/y to 7.6 Mt/y, is also complete. The scope of facilities for Phase 2 includes underground expansion at the Kakula mine to reach an annual production rate of 6 Mt/y, the expansion of mining operations at the Kansoko mine to a steady state 1.6 Mt/y, a second 3.8 Mt/y concentrator plant at Kakula, as well as associated surface infrastructure to support the expansion at the various sites.

AVZ readies infrastructure tenders for Manono lithium project

AVZ Minerals has issued a raft of ‘pre-mining’ infrastructure package tenders for its Manono lithium-tin project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The tenders, which will be awarded once AVZ makes a final investment decision on Manono, are estimated to be collectively worth about $300 million.

Included are the process plants engineering procurement and construction package, the Kabondo Dianda intermodal staging station, diesel storage facilities and supply package, site buildings and enterprise resource systems.

AVZ’s Managing Director, Nigel Ferguson, said: “We will have final pricings on our various tenders back in July and August and then expect to be in a position to award these contracts, pending COVID-19 travel restrictions being lifted and a financial investment decision being reached.”

The Manono project is owned by AVZ (60%), La Congolaise d’Exploitation Minière SA (30%) and Dathomir Mining Resources SARL (10%).

An April feasibility study highlighted a 20-year mine open-pit mine life producing 700,000 t/y of high-grade spodumene concentrate lithium and 45,375 t/y of primary lithium sulphate. Within this plan, the pre-production capital expenditure of $545.5 million included transport upgrade and rehabilitation of the Mpiana Mwanga Hydroelectric Power Plant.