DRDGOLD to determine economic viability of copper recovery from Copper 360’s tailings dams

Northern Cape copper enterprise Copper 360 introduced on Wednesday that it has signed a memorandum of expertise (MoU) with DRDGOLD’s Far West Gold Recoveries tailings retreatment organisation to behavior a due diligence on its copper tailings dams to assess their monetary copper restoration viability.

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During the due diligence period, Far West Gold Recoveries will, through an unbiased expert, determine the total tonnage of tailings fabric by using Lidar survey applying a density of one.4 tonnes per cubic metre.

Copper 360 estimates that there are approximately 50-million to 60-million tonnes of dump cloth with grades various among 0.18% and 1.Five% copper in the dumps, with the potential to incorporate 450 000 t of copper metallic in situ.

“This potential partnership, if feasible, could help us deliver more copper to account in such a manner that it would not distract us from our mining consciousness,” Copper 360 CEO Jan Nelson informed following the March 27 news carrier statement of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). (Also watch attached Creamer Media video.)

During the due diligence, Far West Gold Recoveries will independently verify the economic viability of the copper dumps and if the consequences are to their pride, the events will input right into a joint assignment agreement. Far West Gold Recoveries could be allowed to gather 50% interest inside the tailings dams at a rate to be independently agreed and becomes the operator of the dumps, while Copper 360 maintains to focus on its many cutting-edge mining activities, which encompass commissioning two processing flowers on the Rietberg mine and comparing 5 new mines.

“Our know-how and cognizance aren’t tailings remedy although we recognize the potential of the copper dumps. It is consequently logical that we’ve approached the arena leaders in unload retreatment to peer if a capacity partnership may be negotiated to probably deliver these property to account if the due diligence is viable,” it said in its JSE information service report.

Up to now, the tailings dams had been lower on Copper 360’s list of priorities because of the massive capital this is required to show them to account and Copper 360’s extra attention at the tough rock capability of its mining licence.

But the advance of the copper charge and discussions with DRDGOLD have elevated tailings dam retreatment higher up the concern list, especially since the access of Far West Gold Recoveries allows Copper 360 to hold its eye firmly where it is meant to be.

If the due diligence is negative, Copper 360 will in reality maintain along its aggressive increase direction and if it is superb, a considerable copper circulate will speedy be delivered to Copper 360’s manufacturing line.

“The timing is right and opportunity is proper,” said Nelson.

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HISTORICAL TAILINGS BUILD-UP

The O’Kiep, Carolusberg, Lower NamaCopper and Upper NamaCopper tailings dams have been brought into the Copper 360 fold by using the opposite listing that Shirley Hayes‘ SHiP Copper did with Nelson’s Big Tree Copper beforehand of Copper 360’s listing on the JSE’s AltX in April closing year.

The tailings emerged from the O’Kiep copper corporation of 1937 and have been deposited by means of the Nababeep, O’Kiep, Carolusberg mines from approximately 1940 all of the manner up to the 1990s.

They now provide capability to deliver extra revenue to the desk with out Copper 360 having to bear the overall capital burden in addition to its capability to feature extra coins float to the company and a bigger dividend glide to shareholders.

The first component the strategic partnership could deliver is technical functionality, gleaned over many decades by DRDGOLD in the field of extracting price from dumped mine fabric.

“If feasible, the companion will then, jointly with us, help to carry the capital fee of a plant like this, that may without difficulty be R500-million to R700-million.

“We would then no longer should bring that on my own, and we ought to maintain our awareness on the mining licence, the difficult rock, that we’re bringing to account, even as we’ve were given a companion who will then be the retreater of those dumps.

“If we contribute similarly, then we’d have 50% of the financial advantage in addition to all the blessings in their technical functionality, their operational capability, and also the truth that any construct could be collectively funded,” Nelson pointed out.

When Copper 360 listed, it was trying to ramp up over three years to 30 000 t of copper steel a yr. Now, it’s miles trying to ramp as much as among 60 000 t and 80 000 t of copper manufacturing a 12 months over the equal three-yr period.

“If we discover some other Chile-kind openpit – and we’ve visible signs and symptoms from our drilling that the capability’s there – and a lot of these dumps come off, and we nonetheless need to tackle the relaxation of our mining permit, then we will easily take the copper manufacturing in five years as much as about one hundred 000 t to 120 000 t of copper steel.

“That makes us the size of a Khoemacau copper operation, which was lately sold out by means of the Chinese. The capacity of this place is to have a copper producer within the subsequent three to 4 years so one can be similar in size to Khoemacau and likely be one of the pinnacle 30 copper mines in phrases of length.

“Although length isn’t everything. We must awareness on grades and prices. But we can be one of the pinnacle 30 copper mines inside the world,” Nelson forecasts.

Mining Weekly: What perception may be supplied through the due diligence and what are the highlights of the MoU that Copper 360 has signed with the DRDGOLD subsidiary, Far West Rand Recoveries?

The due diligence absolutely comes down to DRDGOLD knowledge the quantity and grades of these copper dumps, which can be pretty massive, and whether those dumps can be economically delivered to account. The highlight for us is that, situation to the due diligence, we’ve got the sector chief inside the retreatment of dumps to examine this. Although they’re gold-centered, they’ve got some of the fine hydrometallurgists in the global and the due diligence will help us to apprehend what is taking place earlier than we potentially circulate in advance.

What is Copper 360 hoping to get out of the due diligence look at at the four tailings dams within the Copper 360 fold?

The win can be if the extent is there and the grades are such that it is easy to economically recover the copper from the tailings dams. There’s probable 50-million to 70-million tonnes of cloth lying there and about 450 000 t of copper metal, relying on what grade one estimates at, and that is lots of copper. Bringing that to account might be a excessive quantity operation, and that’s what DRDGOLD is used to and glaringly that necessitates a variety of capital. To get that right is the trick. We’re glaringly hoping that it will work out but there’s a danger that we’d do the due diligence and notice that economically it would not stack up. If, with a companion like DRDGOLD, we can’t see it being economically feasible in terms of the capital structure and payback, then no person’s going on the way to get the copper out of these dumps and we’ve were given a large mining licence after which we pass on.

What could be the primary technical, operational and economic blessings of the due diligence giving a thumbs up?

The first aspect could be that we have a really technically succesful accomplice. If viable, the accomplice will then at the same time with us help to carry the capital fee of a plant like this, that may without problems be R500-million to R700-million. We could then no longer ought to deliver that alone, and we should preserve our awareness on the mining licence, the tough rock, that we’re bringing to account, even as we’ve got a associate who will then be the operator of these dumps. If we contribute equally, then we’ve 50% of the economic advantage and feature all the ones blessings of their technical capability, their operational capacity, and also the fact that we collectively would fund any build. In that manner, it might lessen the capital requirement and we may want to nevertheless consciousness at the mining licence.

While DRDGOLD has enormous enjoy in recovering gold from tailings, may want to there not be a task with the restoration of copper from tailings?

With their hydrometallurgical enjoy, it might no longer be a massive hassle for them to also look at how one extracts copper, and do not forget, we’ve got additionally were given pretty a rather professional hydrometallurgical group in our solid and they’ll paintings collectively. The bigger challenge here is to apprehend the recoveries, and that paintings within reason stock wellknown, and then to apprehend the capital profile of the volumes we must pass, and that is really wherein I think their knowledge comes in. It’s no longer that the hydrometallurgy is not essential. It’s manifestly essential, however I suppose each agencies have were given that information in-house, which shouldn’t gift a problem.

What becomes of the dumps if the due diligence offers a thumbs down?

Then those tailings dams may be used by the new mining operations for the tailings deposition or we will build sun panels on them for our sun farm. First prize might be that the due diligence finds that the copper is there and that it may be economically extracted, however if no longer, there are different makes use of. We keep to consciousness at the Rietberg mine, which we’re commissioning, the NamaCopper plant that we’ve got offered has long past into manufacturing, and is generating its first listen, and we’re about months far from commissioning the MFP 1 listen plant that we’ve got constructed. So, we are pretty busy and targeted on that which we do. The tailings dams had been usually lower on our precedence listing due to the huge capital this is required to deliver them to account and we were extra centered on the difficult rock. But with the improvement of the copper rate, and the fact that we’ve been having discussions with DRDGOLD approximately them doubtlessly having a observe this with us, has introduced it up the list. But it does it for us in a manner which does not compromise our strategic objectives. If it works, it’s going to unexpectedly add a large copper circulation to our production line and if it would not, we’ll hold with our competitive boom plan anyways. But I assume the timing is proper and opportunity is right and it doesn’t detract from our resources in terms of looking to see if this could be feasible.

What is the present day news at the five new copper mining assets that Copper 360 is evaluating?

We’ve been doing drilling on floor and we are comparing capacity openpits that might come into manufacturing during the course of this 12 months and early subsequent yr. We are presently looking at two mines which are much like Rietberg. They’ve been drilled out and we’ve got now finished the geological evaluation and we will soon nation a useful resource for them. The mining engineers have already commenced looking at the mine plans. Then, at Tweefontein, we currently additionally introduced enormous drilling outcomes. That’s our recognition and that’s quite a whole lot of work for us to do, and that is once more why I’m pronouncing, this potential partnership if possible, would help us deliver extra copper to account in the sort of way that it would not distract us from our recognition.

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