Copper cathode stripping machine at Tiger Resources’ Kipoi project in DRC.
Tiger Resources started copper cathode production at its 60% owned Kipoi copper project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on May 25. The company was expecting the solvent extraction/electro-winning (SX/EW) plant to reach production capacity within three months and to produce 25,000 metric tons (mt) of copper cathode in its first full 12 months of operation.
Tiger Resources is an Australian company headquartered in West Perth, Western Australia. DRC’s state-controlled mining company, Gécamines, holds the remaining 40% interest in the Kipoi project.
The Kipoi project is located 75 km northwest of Lubumbashi, the capital of Katanga province, in the central part of the Katanga copper belt. The Kipoi mining license covers an area of 55 km2 and contains a 12-km-long, extensively copper-cobalt mineralized segment of Upper Roan sediments.
The project hosts five known copper deposits: Kipoi Central, Kipoi North, Kileba, Judeira and Kaminafitwe. As of December 2013, mineral resources stood at 934,000 mt of contained copper.
The Kipoi SX/EW plant represents stage 2 of Kipoi development. Stage 1 is processing a high-grade zone of copper mineralization at Kipoi Central through a heavy-media separation plant and is expected to produce a total of 132,000 mt of copper in concentrate over a 42-month operating life.
Construction of the stage 2 SX/EW plant began in January 2013. The stage 2 feasibility study confirmed the project as a low-cost, high-margin operation capable of producing 538,000 mt of copper cathode over 11 years, processing ore reserves from the Kipoi Central, Kileba, and Kipoi North deposits and reject floats, slimes, and medium-grade ore stockpiles from the stage 1 heavy-media separation operation.
Tiger anticipates that ore from the Judeira and other deposits within the Kipoi project area, as well as the Lupoto project 10 km south of the Kipoi project area, will also be processed during the stage 2 operations, providing additional returns and increasing the mineral resources available as feedstock to the stage 2 SX/EW plant.
The Lupoto project has a resource of 14.7 million mt grading 1.4% copper for 200,000 mt of contained copper.