By DERRICK SILIMINA
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.
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.