BCL, the copper/ nickel miner, is set to extend its mine life beyond the initial 2014 after the exploration program that sought to find new resources yielded interesting find that could keep the mining town alive for 7 more years.
Montwedi Mphathi, the company’s General Manager, said with the strategy code named ‘Are Chencheng’, he was hopeful about the new target.
“We want to extend to 2020 and we now have to deliver on that promise. Now I am more bullish,” Mphathi said on Friday.
The new strategy is made up of six pillars, namely to increase ore resources and reserves, increase levels of ore production, increase concentrator and smelter capacity utilisation.
It will also allow the company to pursue partnering and related diversification, increase process efficiencies along the entire value chain and also increase the levels of employee engagement and commitment.
Mphathi explained the idea behind increasing ore resource and reserves was to find new resources to enable the life of the mine to be extended to at least 2020.
The targets for exploration program was to come up with at least 9 mt of new resources in extensions to current ore bodies and a further 31 mt from new ore bodies within the concession area.
“To date, an estimated total 31.5 million tonnes at 0.57 percent nickel and 0.57 percent copper have been discovered within the concession area,” said the mine veteran.
He revealed the scoping study to access economic viability of the new find had been completed.
“The study was positive and we are now progressing with the pre-feasibility study. We will progress to the feasibility stage,” he added.
BCL’s ore production volumes bottomed out at 2, 32 mt and a long term target was set up to improve the levels of ore production to circa 3.5 mtpa by 2012.
The company started explorations program that will prolong the mine life some years back and the new discoveries will put smiles on many people whose lives are dependent on the mine, including government and people in the Central District.
The company also has a long term plan to increase the smelter capacity to 1.1 mtpa of concentrate smelted by 2012, which will also increase its tolling capacity.
“Work has commenced to prepare for the 2011 and 2012 shutdowns when most of the integrity improvements will be affected.”
“Improvements are now targeted at reducing slag loses and reverts generation.”