Konkola Copper Mines Plc (KCM) announces that the planned shutdown of its Nchanga Smelter that began in early October is progressing well with the restart of operations currently scheduled for 19th November 2019.
The Company’s smelter undertook its fifth major maintenance shutdown since it was commissioned in 2008. The works were focusing on replacement of worn-out copper cooling elements and installation of new refractory lining at the Flash Smelting Furnace and the Slag Cleaning Furnace. The Acid Plant Gas Cleaning Section was also refurbished and catalyst changed while some works which are season sensitive have been deferred to June 2020.
Smelting and Refining Unit Director, Enock Mponda remarked; “the shutdown has been very well managed. It has been incident free and everyone put in their very best to attain the overall goal. There has been good team work throughout the shutdown. This is the most expensive shutdown ever in terms of the cost involved ($16.5 million) and the fact that we have had to pay for everything upfront. For this we are grateful to the KCM Provisional Liquidator for ensuring availability of the funds for this important programme and to KCM Management, all the employees and contractors for their support”.
Over 500 people comprising mostly Zambians and a few expatriates have been engaged in the maintenance shutdown which has not recorded any major safety incident to date. Two KCM employees echoed the enthusiasm from the teams involved; “This has been a great experience! It’s the first time it’s being managed by Zambians and we are greatly satisfied with what we have done’’, said Chooye Habwaande, KCM’s Acting Superintendent – Mechanical. Kelvin Chimwendo, General Foreman- Refractories, expressed thanks to Management for this experience.” We are on course with the shutdown. We have done work which has never been done before in previous shutdowns from the time the smelter was commissioned and I would like to thank Management for giving us the chance to do this work.”
The KCM Smelter has a 311,000t per annum installed capacity and it is a state-of-the-art facility that is environmentally friendly with a Sulphur capture of 99.6%.