Central Asia Metals Ltd (CAML) says, on April 18, the Kounrad copper recovery plant, in Kazakhstan, produced its 100,000th tonne of cathode – a significant milestone for an operation processing material previously deemed as ‘waste’.
CAML’s Kounrad copper resources are within the waste dumps formed during prior mining activities of the Kounrad deposit, which commenced in the 1930s.
The facility recovers copper from the Eastern and Western dumps that accumulated from open-pit mining operations from a period that started in 1936 and ended in 2005. Over time, oxides and low-grade sulphides of copper formed a significant tonnage deposited at the mine site.
Leached metal from the dumps finds its way to the solvent extraction and electrowinning processing plant via a series of storage ponds. At the plant, copper is produced with the final cathode product delivered from the Kounrad site by rail and sea to the end customers, predominantly in Turkey.
Since CAML’s leaching operations began in April 2012, Kounrad has produced 100,000 t of copper cathode at C1 cash costs averaging $0.55/Ib, or $1,212.54/t (2012-2019); has generated gross revenue of $601 million from copper sales (2012-2019); and has supported a Kazakh workforce comprising 323 employees and 86 contractors (2019).
Nigel Robinson, Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are delighted to have reached this significant milestone of producing 100,000 t of copper from Kounrad at costs that are amongst the lowest in the world. We owe a debt of gratitude to the on-site team led by General Director, Pavel Semenchenko, and guided by our Technical Director, Howard Nicholson.”