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:: First Zinc Produced at Skorpion
Mining giant Anglo American has announced that its wholly-owned Skorpion zinc mine has produced its first metal, after being completed within budget.
Anglo announced the R3,2-billion ($454-million) development of the mine and refinery, located in southern Namibia, in 2001.
The mine, situated some 85 km north-east of Oranjemund and 25 km north of Rosh Pinah, is said to be one of the lowest-cost zinc producers in the world and is expected to produce about 150 000 t/y of special high-grade zinc when it reaches full production. Life of mine is said to be at least 15 years.
The zinc deposit contains reserves of 21,4-million tons, grading 10,6% zinc, mineable by conventional openpit methods.
The ore consists mainly of zinc silicates and zinc carbonates, which will be leached under atmospheric conditions. Resultant leach liquors will be purified and concentrated using a novel solvent-extraction technique prior to electrowinning and production of high-grade cast zinc metal.
Maximum use will be made of existing infrastructure in the Rosh Pinah area and the refinery has been granted export processing zone status by the Namibian government.
Zinc from the mine is to be exported to markets in Asia, Europe and North America from Namibia’s Atlantic Ocean port of Lüderitz.
Some 550 workers, of whom 50 will be expatriates, are to be employed by the mine when it reaches full capacity.
Skorpion is the largest new mining project in Namibia, and the first nondiamond-mine in Diamond Area No 1, in the Sperrgebiet.
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