JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Toronto- and Sydney-listed Tiger Resources on Friday said there will be no material impact on its operations or the continued sale of copper concentrate from its Kipoi copper mine, in the Katanga province, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), after the country’s government banned the export of copper and cobalt concentrates.
In a bid to encourage miners to process and refine copper concentrates in-country to secure the value-add economic benefits of beneficiation and refining for the nation, mines and finance Ministers signed a directive, earlier this month, that gave companies 90 days to clear their stocks of concentrate before the ban came into effect, after which processing would have to be done in the DRC.
Tiger Resources indicated that copper concentrate produced at Kipoi continued to be sold at the mine gate under the terms of an offtake contract with client Trafigura Beheer. The copper concentrate was currently sold to domestic customers in the DRC or exported to the Chambishi smelter, in Zambia.
“Currently, export sales of Kipoi concentrate are made under valid export permits executed by the governor of Katanga and the regional Minister of Mines.”
The company pointed out that the percentage of copper concentrate sold by export in the first quarter of 2013 was 17% and that, under existing market conditions, local sales and export sales achieved similar net revenues.
“There is sufficient demand from local smelters in the DRC to accommodate all of the concentrate sales from Kipoi,” Tiger Resources noted.
“The Minister of Mines is aware of Tiger’s current development of a solvent extraction and electrowinning (SX-EW) plant at Kipoi, which will result in production of a high value-added London Metal Exchange-grade copper cathode product from mid-2014,” Tiger Resources added.
The company was undertaking a phased development at Kipoi. The Stage 1 heavy media separation plant was in production and expected to process 2.7-million tons of ore grading about 7% Cu to produce a total of 113 000 t of copper in concentrate over its 39-month life.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported earlier this week that the governor of Katanga indicated that he would not enforce the ban, stating that he was not consulted in the decision and that the DRC did not have sufficient electricity to process the finished product.