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SUPPLEMENTING PLANT FEED WITH SURFACE WASTE

This report, explains in details the costing and logistical implications which were involved in treating waste rock from 14 shaft and it contains proposals for utilizing excess plant capacity to continue the exercise. SINCE THIS PRACTICE CONSTITUTES A VARIABLE COST COMPONENT, IT WILL HELP IN DILUTING THE EFFECTS OF FIXED COSTS, AND MAKE THE OPERATION MORE PROFITABLE. In addition, taking up the surges in tonnage supply from the mine will guarantee better plant control. 1: Assumptions: The plant will process up to 3 000 tonnes of waste per day, working 24 hours per day, this equates to 10 trucks of 15 tonnes capacity per hour. Tipping of the ore will be done on the Cable Belt transfer conveyor, TB1, feed end. Tipping will be carried out North and South, thus allowing two trucks to tip simultaneously, in a safe manner.

Figure 1: TB1 conveyor, waste to be dumped at tail end Loading of trucks will take place at two points on the waste dump, this well ease congestion, and facilitate the smooth flow of traffic. Since the waste was primary crushed before being tipped, there will be no need for blasting. Large rocks will be shifted aside and manual labour used to break them before loading. Since the waste is predominantly copper bearing, the chemical reagents associated with cobalt processing (lime, cyanide and dithiophosphate) will not be required, contributing to significant cost savings. Forged mill balls will be used because of its cost effectiveness.

Figure 2: Balubas milling section 2: Calculations: 3 000 tonnes per day. Feed grade 0.55% Cu, for average case scenario, 0.45% Cu for worst case scenario, and 0.40% Cu for extreme worst case scenario. Plant recovery 65% total Cu, although higher recoveries can be expected as shown below at the Frontier mine 50kms away, part of the same geological formation called the Lufilian Arc.
W ASTE ROCK TREATMENT

91.0

86.0

RCVR ( ) E OE Y%

81.0

76.0

71.0

66.0 0.14

0.24

0.34 GRADE % Cu

0.44

0.54

Figure 3: Average grade waste rock treatment at Frontier mine

WASTE ROCK TREATMENT LOW GRADE

90.0

85.0
R C V R (% E OE Y )

80.0

75.0

70.0

65.0

60.0 0.14 0.24 0.34


GRADE (%Cu)

0.44

Figure 4: Low grade waste rock treatment at Frontier mine Smelter/refinery combined recoveries 95%. Processing cost 7/lb recoverable copper for average case scenario, 8/lb for worst case scenario and 10/lb for extreme worst case scenario due to increased mill balls usage. Mining and transporting cost to plant, max 5kms, 5/lb recoverable copper for average case scenario, 7/lb for worst case scenario and 9/lb for extreme worst case scenario, because of the larger volume of barren rock at the lower grade to be transported. Overheads and contingencies, 3/lb recoverable copper for average case scenario, 4/lb for worst case scenario and 5/lb for extreme worst case scenario. LME selling price of copper $1.10/lb, for average case scenario $1.00/lb for worst case scenario and $0.90/lb for extreme worst case scenario. Figure 7.

2.1 Average Case Scenario 1. Production, volume and cost: (3 000X0.55X0.65X0.95)*2 205/100 22 466 lbs of copper per day.@ $1.10/lb $24 712 per day in revenue, say $24 500 2. Operating Cost: 22 466*(7+5+3)/100 $3 370, say $3 500 in expenses 3. Profit: Daily profit is expected to be $24 500 - $3 500 = $21 000 Operating 350 days per year gives $7.3m, or $0.61m per month profit 2.2 Worst Case Scenario 1. Production, volume and cost: (3 000X0.45X0.65X0.95)* 2 205/100 18 381 lbs of copper per day.@ $1.00/lb $18 380 per day in revenue, say $18 000 2. Operating Cost: 18 381*(8+7+4)/100 $3 492, say $3 500 in expenses 3. Profit: Daily profit is expected to be $18 000 - $3 500 = $14 500 Operating 350 days per year gives $5.07m, or $0.42m per month profit 2.3 Extreme Worst Case Scenario 1. Production, volume and cost: (3 000X0.40X0.65X0.95)*2 205/100 16 339 lbs of copper per day.@$0.90/lb $14 705 per day in revenue, say $14 500 2. Operating Cost: 16 339*(10+9+5)/100 $3 921, say $4 000 in expenses 3. Profit: Daily profit is expected to be $14 500 - $4 000 = $10 500 Operating 350 days per year gives $3.67m, or $0.30m per month profit 2.4 Extreme Worst Case Scenario, with doubled cost 1. Production, volume and cost: (3 000X0.40X.65X.95)*2 205/100 16 339 lbs of copper per day.@$0.90/lb $14 705 per day in revenue, say $14 500 2. Operating Cost: 16 339*(20+18+10) $7 842 say $8 000 in expenses 3. Profit: Daily profit is expected to be $14 500 - $8 000 = $6 500 Operating 350 days per year gives $ $2.27m, or $0.19m per month profit

3: Conclusions: The above presentation shows conclusively that the surface waste from the defunct Luanshya mine could be reprocessed profitably. The copper price used is extremely low, current and long term selling price is expected at least double of what was used in this financial model. The plant recovery used is very low, as the circuit is optimized; at least 75% recovery is expected. Frontier mine 50kms away achieved in excess of 80% recovery! The costs expected to be incurred will definitely be lower, they will just be incremental costs, as excess plant capacity will be utilized with the same equipment and labour force. The model assumed that waste would have been treated by itself. Considering the three points just made, above, the economics sways well in favour of treating mine waste. The general manager will have a financial model on his computer, as the LME price increases; he will calculate when 18 shaft and 28 shaft waste can be trucked into the plant from Mpatamatu. While 14 shaft waste is being processed, unemployed youths will be placed on the two Mpatamatu waste dumps to hand pick copper rocks, they will be paid according to the copper content of such ore. This will enhance community participation in the operation of the mine. This could become a model for the rest of the copperbelt to follow, utilising the vast tonnages mine waste discarded on surface, at every copperbelt mine. But as the connotations which go with the name, this material is often overlooked. This project will prove that with innovation, experience and ingenuity, such waste can be converted to a valuable resource to benefit the country, and reflect the proactive approach of the company. The surface waste which is seen as an environmental eye sore will be processed and the ensuing waste deposited in the tailings dams in a responsible manner. The increased throughput through the plant will make the flow of tailings in the tails race easier. Sanding up and blockage of the tails race has been the biggest problem which the concentrator has faced since the closure of the Luanshya plant. It is believed that the reduced throughput does not provide enough transport velocity to keep the tailings particles in suspension, especially during periods when the grind coarsens. The concentrate produced is deemed to be sweet for smelting. This is attributed to the high pyrite content which makes it exothermic (gives off heat, and saving on smelting fuel). In addition, it contributes to a low viscosity slag, thus improving smelter recovery. Figure 6.

Referring to Figure 5, does a plant always strive to operate at the optimum profitability point? Assuming it was budgeted to operate at a concentrate grade of 30% Cu but during a part of the period the plant operated at (<30%). Do plant operators compensate by operating at (>30%) for the remainder of the period so that on average a grade of 30% is achieved. If so, a loss of revenue is incurred during both scenarios. It is best to operate in the oval area. This gives a factor of safety to plant operators. Treating surface waste will act as a safety net and will guarantee operating at the optimum profitability point!

REVENUE vs GRADE
32 31.5 31 30.5 30 29.5 29 28.5 28 1.2 1.25 1.3 1.35 1.4 1.45 REVENUE ($/lb) CONS GRADE (%Cu)

Figure 5: Revenue vs Concentrate grade

Figure 6: Sweet flotation concentrate, cherished by all smelters 6

Figure 7: 15-year copper price graph,..clear patch shows the very conservative price band used in this financial model

RAMOUTAR SEECHARRAN (KEN) CONCENTRATOR MANAGER