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First Quantum expanding trolley assist program to augment waste mining at Kansanshi

first_imgIn its latest Q1 2018 results, First Quantum Minerals provided a comprehensive update on key operations including Kansanshi and Sentinel in Zambia; and the in-development Cobre Panama mine in Panama. In terms of outlook at Kansanshi, the company stated: “Improved mining performance is expected along with optimisation of the drilling and blasting practices as well as a focus on the expansion of the trolley assist program. Additional waste stripping in the main pit is planned to continue until the middle of the year, with the advancement of waste stripping in the first major push-back toward the eastern side of the pit due to commence in the second quarter. The increase in the trolley-assist program is expected to augment waste mining.” Kansanshi started with a fleet of 23 Hitachi EH3500ACII trolley assist trucks but has been growing the fleet further with more recent additions of the newer EH3500AC3 model. It is not yet clear if the now expanded waste fleet will include the same class or larger trucks and what model/brand they will be.The addition of a new wheel loader and other items of fleet are also expected to reduce the disruptions of feed to the primary crushers, which should increase ore throughput. For the quarter, Kansanshi produced 63,585 t of copper, which was 1% higher than the same period in 2017 due primarily to an increase in total plant feed grade, partially offset by lower overall plant recovery. Plant recovery was impacted by a decrease in oxide, mixed and sulphide ore recoveries. Leach efficiency and subsequently mixed and oxide cathode recovery were negatively impacted by ore changes. Plans are underway to improve leach efficiency and float recoveries. A total of 25,440 t of concentrate containing 6,974 t of copper was processed through the high pressure leach unit in the first quarter. Gold production of 32,080 ounces was 11% lower than the same period of 2017, resulting from lower gold feed grade.At Sentinel, copper production of 50,310 t was 39% higher than the comparable period of 2017. The increase in production was achieved despite a tough and prolonged wet season due to improved ore supply from the mine, with 26% higher total mining volumes, “as a result of improved mine geometry, dewatering infrastructure and improvedmining conditions. Significant improvements in water management resulted in a 75% decrease in weather- related production downtime compared to the same period of 2017.”Cobre Panama development activity continued during the first quarter of 2018 and the overall project progress atthe end of Q1 2018 was 70% complete. The project was impacted in March by industrial action culminating in a 10-day work stoppage which affected a number of the work areas for as long as six weeks, and as at the end of the quarter the works were restarting in a controlled manner. The advancement of the power station continued and is now 89% complete overall. Commissioning of the set 1 power and utility systems are well underway and set 2 power commissioning commenced this quarter. The first 150 MW set is scheduled to be generating power in Q2 2018 followed by the second set in Q3 2018. The process plant and mine site were 58% complete at end of Q1, and peak construction levels are planned to continue as the process plant advances towards staged commissioning later this year. Engineering is 95% complete and the remaining focus is on closing final vendor deliverables along with electrical, instrumentation and controls design. Procurement was 97% committed, with the remaining procurement being final orders for bulk commodities, electrical, instrumentation, and buildings. The focus is on completion of manufacturing and delivering to site with the overall procurement effort being 74% complete.Some key milestones achieved through the quarter include: the successful steam blows of set 1 boiler, start of commissioning activities on set 2 boiler, mechanical installation commenced for the primary crusher units in the mine, commencement of operations of the ultra-class Liebherr T 284 mining fleet, and the mobilisation of keycommissioning personnel for the process plant. Key status for the construction of the project at the end of the quarter includes the mine pre-strip at 78% complete, and the tailings management facility earthworks at 79% completion. The project remains scheduled for phased commissioning during 2018 with continued ramp-up over 2019 and 2020.last_img read more