Monday, April 02, 2012
By Gift Chanda
Mon 02 Apr. 2012, 12:59 CAT
MOPANI Copper Mines has commenced the sinking of the main shaft at its US$320 million synclinorium project. The synclinorium shaft project is expected to extend the life of Mopani's Nkana operations by 25 years, well beyond the expected depletion dates of the existing reserves at Mindola North, SOB and Central Shafts of 2015, 2017 and 2018 respectively.
As one of the biggest construction projects currently underway in Zambia, the Synclinorium Shafts project involves construction of a seven-metre diameter main shaft and a six-metre diameter ventilation shaft to a depth of 1,277 metres, providing Mopani with access to some 115 million tonnes of ore at a grade of 1.9 per cent copper and 0.09 per cent cobalt.
Once fully operational, the project will increase ore production at Nkana Mine Site from 3.4 million tonnes per annum today to around 5.1 million tonnes per annum by 2018
"The US$320 million Synclinorium Shafts project is rapidly taking shape and Mopani is pleased to announce the second milestone on the project with the completion of the Pre-sink stage at 81m deep and commencement of the main sinking of the main shaft at the end of April 2012," the company said in an emailed statement yesterday.
"The commencement of Main Sink stage entails the installation of the main Sinking Platform and start of the main sinking of the shaft. Other works that are being undertaken at this stage include construction of the Sinking Headgear, installation of Kibble and Stage Winders and the commissioning of all ancillary services required to ensure that the sinking phase continues."
The company said many works on the project had been concluded.
It said it had finished constructing the Shaft Collar, which marked the first milestone in December 2011 and opened the way for further pre-sink works.
It further said it had constructed a 1.5MW power substation, a Batch Plant and offices.
"We have started a new path at Mopani that brings us hope and more confidence in the future of copper mining in Zambia. Our US$323 million investment in this Synclinorium Shafts project which gives a new breath of life into mining at Nkana is a testimony of our faith in the Zambian economy and our commitment to the Zambian people," said company chief executive officer Danny Callow.
"This project will not only extend the life of the mine and provide the much needed employment, but will also extend and increase government revenue through tax and other spillover benefits to the community."
The Synclinorium shaft is part of a US $2 billion recapitalisation programme in Mopani by its major shareholder.