ZAMBIA – FIRST QUANTUM MINERALS of Vancouver reported that its Kansanshi copper/gold mine reached commercial production on April 19, 2005. During the commissioning stage which began in November 2004, the operation produced 6,792 tonnes of copper in concentrate and 1,941 tonnes of copper cathode.
The feasibility study for Kansanshi envisioned the treatment of 4 million tonnes of oxide ore and 2 million tonnes of sulphide ore. Capital additions carried out to the sulphide milling circuit during initial construction at Kansanshi have doubled design throughput of sulphide ore to 4 million tonnes per year. This increased the design output of copper concentrate and is expected to lead to concentrate production in 2005 substantially outperforming the original forecasts.
C1 (cash) cost for the combined oxide and sulphide production is expected to be US$0.45/lb of copper produced. A US$29-million capital program committed for 2005 will further expand the sulphide circuit to 8 million tonnes of treatment capacity, which will result in an average of 145,000 tonnes of finished copper production per year during the period of 2006-09.
First Quantum has purchased a used pressure oxidation plant for Kansanshi in hopes of further increasing concentrate production. See www.First-Quantum.com for more information about the company’s projects and mines in Africa.