Chief Executive Officer of Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), Steven Din, is upbeat about prospects to lift total KCM copper production to 500,000 metric tonnes per annum underpinned on huge investments by Vedanta Resources Plc and the current positive market fundamentals.
Reflecting on the just-ended Mining Indaba conference in Cape Town, South Africa, Mr Din said investments of over $3 billion on expansions and upgrades has set KCM in a strong position to step-up production.
The CEO, however, warned against complacency in operations and emphasized the need to raise production volumes and not only rely on the current high copper price.
He said KCM had emerged strong from the economic downturn, during which time the price of copper dropped to its lowest in 11 years at $4,500 per tonne in 2016, as a result of looking at things in more detail.
He commented that, “We’re targeting production of up to 500,000 tonnes in the next four to five years. It’s a short time frame because the growth will come from brownfield expansions, with a significant amount invested when Vedanta acquired the company in 2004.”
“All the hard dollars have been spent, so now it’s a matter of turning the handle to get the production,” he added.
Mr Din said KCM would endeavor to keep its operations efficient and at the right level in the cost curve. “We have to stick to basics and think about our cost of production, our volume levels and our overall availability, and run a safe, efficient operation,” he said.
Mr Din said KCM has a lot of responsibility in terms of its operations, which employs 12,000 people and surrounding communities, which depended on the company.
Konkola Copper Mines is focusing on ramping up production at the flagship Konkola Deep Mine with the support of new business partners. Other partners have been engaged at the Tailings Leach Plant and Nchanga Open pit in a bid to raise production.