Mining services company Fraser Alexander is focused on expanding its presence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia, both prime locations of high-grade copper deposits.
With more than a century of experience, the company has been expanding into most gold- and copper-producing African countries since 2000.
Fraser Alexander first began by introducing the African regions to the proven and successful concept of hydraulically mining (hydro mining) old tailings storage facilities (TSF) using high-pressure jets of water to dislodge and slurry the tailings, says Fraser Alexander tailings GM for Africa Craig Walter. The company attributes its success in securing tailings deposition-related contracts to following a risk, quality and geotechnical-focused approach to TSF deposition management and operations implemented in Africa and worldwide.
In the past eight months, Fraser Alexander has secured two new hydraulic mining contracts in the DRC and one tailings deposition contract in Zambia, growing its number of contracts outside South Africa, reports Walter. A third upcoming DRC hydraulic mining project is to be commissioned in September.
The new hydraulic mining contracts cover Fraser Alexander undertaking the full pumping design, manufacture and installation, as well as the operation and maintenance, of the projects. Walter adds that the mining companies with which Fraser Alexander works understand that “system design and operations must be perfectly aligned to ensure long-term production delivery”.
The first new hydraulic mining contract in the DRC is located near Kolwezi and has been commissioned to deliver 2 400 t/d of copper tailings. Since commissioning began in December 2016, these targets have consistently been achieved, enthuses Walter, highlighting that, owing to this success, the project is being expanded to 4 800 t /d of copper containing slurry for beneficiation. Targets are expected to be reached this year.
The other DRC contract is near Lubumbashi and was commissioned in November 2016. It too has successfully met its target of hydro mining 1 600 t/d of copper tailings.
The most recent hydraulic mining contract secured by the company in the DRC is also near Kolwezi, with construction set to begin in September. It is expected to produce 3 200 t/d of copper tailings in 2017.
Fraser Alexander’s successfully operated hydro mining sites across Africa produce more than 38 000 t/d of copper tailings, which is repulped and pumped to clients’ processing plants.