A positive shift in Zambia’s copper and cobalt mining industries has resulted in an increase in much-needed operational investments by major mining houses, says mining, bulk materials handling and mineral processing equipment and systems supplier TAKRAF Africa.
TAKRAF Africa regional sales manager George Jacob explains that the company has noted “a welcome boom” in capital expenditure by large mining houses in the country over the past year.
“Major copper mining houses, such as Glencore, First Quantum Minerals and Vedanta Resources, are making major investments in terms of new shafts, concentrator and smelter plant upgrades,” enthuses Jacob.
He states that TAKRAF Africa has “similarly seen an increased demand for tailings retreatment projects for extracting copper and cobalt, as well as some possibilities in manganese beneficiation”.
Jacob explains that operational investments in the country were previously neglected, resulting in a lack of mechanised mining and processing technology to effectively recover mineral resources at mines. Investment was not prioritised, owing to investor confidence being marred by low commodity prices, decreasing mineral grades, power shortages and changes in mineral royalties, he suggests.
Moreover, a trend of lower exploration spend through to 2016 and plans to shut down certain mines remain concerning to many investors in the mining sector, adds Jacob.
“Consequently, mining houses have been calling for a stable and investor-friendly policy environment, which will improve the ease of doing business in Zambia.”
He clarifies that the region’s copper mining sector gained significant momentum, owing to higher copper production levels, better price realisation and relatively stable tax legislation.
These factors have resulted in a more favourable investment environment, which has resulted in mining houses being eager to improve productivity and output to maximise profitability.
Owing to increased investment in Zambia’s mining space, TAKRAF Africa has been sought out to supply capital equipment for several projects. Jacob highlights that the company has been requested to assist with several upcoming projects, particularly in the copper and cobalt space. He states that – while the company cannot divulge specifics on the projects it is working on – much of recent demand has been aimed at improving and maintaining various bulk materials handling equipment, stockyard systems, solid/liquid separation equipment, as well as air environmental systems.
Jacob says that the Zambian mining market has been resilient and currently offers a good deal of potential. He expects that Zambia will prove to be a lucrative business destination going forward if favourable conditions prevail.Operating
Since the 1930s
TAKRAF Africa offers “cutting-edge” technology associated with opencast mining, bulk materials handling, comminution, solid/liquid separation, solvent extraction and electrowinning technologies for the mining and minerals processing sectors.
Jacob tells Mining Weekly that “TAKRAF Africa – previously known as Bateman Engineered Technologies prior to the Bateman Group’s acquisition by Tenova in 2012 – has been operating in Zambia for more than eight decades, with some of its initial mine-site installations dating back to the early 1930s”.
The company aims to provide differentiated, project-speciﬁc process technologies – designed at its various in-house research and development (R&D) facilities worldwide – to improve the efficiency of a mine’s mineral extraction capabilities, he elucidates.
Jacob reinforces that TAKRAF Africa’s extensive global mining industry experience, significant focus on R&D and reliable aftermarket service team ensures that clients receive turnkey solutions that are legislatively compliant, safe and, most importantly, assist in optimising mine function and profitability. He further adds that the company’s design, project management and aftermarket support staff, who operate from South Africa, provide easy access to clients in Zambia.
Since TAKRAF Africa’s establishment in the Zambian market, Jacob says that it has installed a range of systems for a number of important mines. Such solutions range from overland conveyors, copper concentrate reclaimers, apron feeders, thickeners, pinned bed clarifiers and horizontal vacuum belt filters, as well as plate and frame filter press units, to dynamic scrubbers and bag filter units.
“TAKRAF Africa is looking forward to con- tinue working with existing and some of the new players who are considering major investments in Zambia’s copper, cobalt, zinc, nickel and coal sectors,” Jacob concludes.