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MEI Online: Plant Operation News: Africa: December 17th 2002


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:: Bwana Mkubwa SX/Electrowinning Plant Commissioned

First Quantum Minerals began commissioning the second phase of expansion of its Bwana Mkubwa solvent extraction/electrowinning facility in Zambia in late September. At full capacity, production will triple to 30,000 mt/year of copper cathode.

Since 1998, the facility, near the regional mining center of Ndola at the southern extension of the Zambian Copperbelt, has reprocessed copper-bearing mine tailings from an existing tailings dam and has produced co-product sulphuric acid. In March 2002, the first phase of expansion was completed, allowing the facility to begin processing ore from First Quantum's high-grade Lonshi mine, located 35 kilometers east in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Lonshi resource totals 5.1 million mt, grading 5.75% copper. The deposit remains open along strike and at depth. Metallurgical testing on Lonshi ores indicates that they are highly amenable to direct acid leaching, with a recovery rate of approximately 86%.




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