Iron-ore giant Kumba Iron Ore has told analysts that it aims to increase the production throughput of its new Kolomela mine, in the Northern Cape, by a further six-million tons a year by 2019.
This will be achieved through a new beneficiation project, which remains core to the company’s growth aspirations.
The JSE-listed company has already invested R6-billion in the new mine, with a further R1-billion already committed.
The mine is scheduled for first production of four-million tons to five-million tons during the first half of 2012, ramping up to full capacity of nine-million tons a year of direct shipping ore (DSO) for export in 2013.
The proposed expansion project could use the mineral resources not included in the current life-of-mine, and entails the beneficiation of ore stockpiles from DSO mining operations.
The focus of the project is to expand existing assets and establish new physical assets, support processes, services and infrastructure to produce three-million tons a year to six-million tons a year of additional Kolomela-specification product.
“The project is a brownfield expansion of the current DSO facility,” Kumba says.
Construction and commissioning of this project is expected to take place between 2015 and 2018. The company hopes to meet the strategic first-ore-on-rail production by January 2018, and reach plant nameplate capacity in 2019.
The project will be progressed to a sufficient level of detail in 2014 to allow Kumba to make an investment decision, which will also be dependent on an associated expansion of the Sishen–Saldanha rail channel.
The company will undertake a concept study, expected to be complete in 2012, while the prefeasibility and feasibility studies are expected to be complete by 2013 and 2014 respectively.
Meanwhile, the company will spend about R33-million this year on social investments.
Work around the mine includes, besides others, the upgrade and development of community access roads and stormwater facilities, a public transport infrastructure joint venture undertaking with Assmang to upgrade the bus and taxi terminals and the funding of sewerage reticulation to 212 households.