Saturday, April 13, 2024

Investing in cutting-edge equipment will boost our copper production by 15% -First Quantum Minerals



KALUMBILA Minerals Limited (KML), a subsidiary of First Quantum Minerals (FQM), says the mining firm’s quest to invest in cutting-edge equipment will boost copper production by about 15 percent.

Speaking during a familiarisation tour of its recently acquired In-pit copper ore crusher, a state-of-the-art mining machine, KML Project Manager for CR4 Pocket Construction, Albert Jonah said investment in the in-pit crushers is a milestone achievement as they are not common in the world.

Mr Jonah, a mining engineer, noted that the mega mining paraphernalia is worth over US$50 million each, adding that the mining giant has invested four in Panama and four at its Sentinel Mine in Kalumbila district of North-Western Province.

He therefore affirmed that for this reason, copper production at Sentinel Mine will go up by 15 percent by 2022, hence the need to procure another in-pit ore crusher.

“By 2022, our copper production will be up by 15 percent, and as the pit is expanding towards the east, this latest crusher will play a vital role as more ore gets exposed on the eastern side of the pit. These crushers will be relocated as the pit expands to optimise the mining process,” Mr Jonah noted.

KALUMBILA Minerals Limited Project Manager for CR4 Pocket Construction Albert Jonah explains the effectiveness of the In-pit ore crushers at Kalumbila Open pit mine. – Picture by Derrick Silimina/SUMA SYSTEMS.
KALUMBILA Minerals Limited Project Manager for CR4 Pocket Construction Albert Jonah explains the effectiveness of the In-pit ore crushers at Kalumbila Open pit mine. – Picture by Derrick Silimina/SUMA SYSTEMS.

With a capacity of 7,000 tonnes per hour translating into about 150,000 tonnes production per day, double the size of the first three crushers on-site, the project manager bubbled with confidence that the masterpiece is an awesome investment in the country’s mining history.

“This In-pit crusher is the fourth we’ve got at Sentinel Mine, which is, more or less, double the size of the first three that are in operation. We started the pocket construction of this new crusher in December 2020 and total completion is likely to be at the end of July this year.”

Mr Jonah stated that in-pit ore crushers reduce the mine’s haulage costs which saves the mining operations in the long run as compared to top-off pit crushers as the rest of the haulage is done by conveyor belts towards the plant.

He stressed that the installation of each in-pit crusher came at a huge cost as the latest gear has so far consumed about $2 million in the pocket development cost. In terms of assembly of the massive unit, the facility requires about 150 personnel that are doing the project works for a period of six months.

Investment in such high-tech mining equipment facilitates the transfer of technology among the local mining staff as the assembly and installation of the machinery is being done by in-house personnel.

“We’ve got a local project team that’s working on this fourth crusher as they have learnt from international contractors that were brought in during the installation of the first three crushers. I think it’s vital for local staff to know dynamics of such technology as this achieves better control of the facility and is cost effective.”
Regarding the lifespan of the in-pit crushers, Mr Jonah confirmed that the mining apparatus can stand the test of time and even up-to the end of the mining lease.

“For as long as we do maintenance works on them, the life of these crushers goes up-to the end of mining operations.” – Story courtesy of SUMA SYSTEMS.


  1. The same as us investing in infrastructure development, which the ignorant upnd thugs criticize.

  2. That is right Productivity is a Factor of both Technology and Factors of Production With the Increasing Productivity by the Mining sector will ensure reinvestments for many years to come given the prime commodity prices we are currently in Mines that will increase productivity in factors and total productivity by combining innovations per worker will be more resilient for the fore sable future to come

  3. The Sentinel project at Kalumbila is one of the few success stories, those guys mean business. However, I’m from the old school that believes that industry mustn’t grossly mechanize as machines take away jobs fro the locals, especially unskilled labourers. However well you try to justify that the initial cost of the machine and the subsequent cost of maintenance won’t compare to the benefits that could’ve been accrued through the employment of another few thousand employees. Zambia had done it before even with the old primitive methods. At that time we were given production targets and we ensured that we got the accompanying bonuses as we were always above the production targets. That money made a big difference

  4. This investment in the right direction meaning doing away with huge fuel expenses on dump trucks and service vans. This will increase production and govt needs to recoup on lost mining revenue. But the major problem at Kalumbila Mine has been labour matters which needs to be urgently addressed. By time the in pit crushers will be fully commissioned Zambians would have changed govt from PF to UPND. Things are not ok on the ground for PF unless they overhaul their strategy.

  5. Each crusher producing 150,000 tonnes per day. Come 2030, there will be nothing left, not even a black mountain.

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