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Copper 360 output set to quickly double on Nama Copper acquisition

Copper 360 CEO Jan Nelson interviewed by Mining Weekly's Martin Creamer. Video: Darlene Creamer.

19th March 2024

By: Martin Creamer

Creamer Media Editor

     

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JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Energetic Northern Cape copper mining company Copper 360 this week produced the first concentrate from the plant it has just acquired from Nama Copper, which becomes its second concentrator plant and virtually doubles the Johannesburg Stock Exchange AltX company’s production capacity.

Moreover, the Nama Copper plant has exceeded structural integrity and performance expectations, Copper 360 stated in a stock exchange news service announcement.

“We started the plant up last week and yesterday we produced our first concentrate,” fast-moving Copper 360's CEO Jan Nelson enthused during a Teams interview. (Also watch attached Creamer Media video.)

Copper 360's current focus is to get the two concentrate plants fully operational in view of the significant cash flow that they will generate.

At this rate, the pure copper play will be producing close to 1 000 t of copper metal in the next two to three months from the three plants now in operation ­– the copper platemaking solvent extraction and electrowinning (SX/EW) plant, the modular flotation plant one (MFP 1), which will be in production in the next few months, and now MFP 2, which is already producing.

“We’ve concluded the due diligence on the asset and we've paid the R150-million of the R200-million that's due and the further R50-million will be funded from three tranches out of future offset on the offtake agreement so, in effect, we've paid the capital that was required. We still need a Section 11 consent but that allows us on a lease basis to run the plant.

“We bought Nama Copper because that gives us a second concentrator plant. This has the capacity to treat 20 000 t of rock at about 1.4% copper, It will produce 230 t of copper metal at between 30% to 40% copper concentrate.

“The commissioning has gone well. We've already produced copper concentrate within the first four to five days of starting up the plant, and we've had very little problem with the plant,” Nelson outlined.

A new offtake agreement has been concluded with Fujax UK, an international commodity trading company, which will purchase all the concentrate produced by Nama Copper’s MFP 2 on attractive, market-related terms for a period of ten years. Fujax is described as a sort of sister company to Nama Copper.

“They've negotiated very good commercial terms with us for the copper concentrate. We get almost 85% of the existing copper price. But what's important is that the concentrate is taken up at the mine gate, and we receive almost 90% of the concentrate value within a few days, which is very good for us.

“With the copper price now shooting up to $9 000/t, this is exactly the right time for us to get into production,” Nelson noted.

Coming with the deal is a large land area, as well as some 22-million tons of tailings with a copper content of between 0.3% and 0.6% copper.

This resource, which represents between R12-billion and R24-billion in copper metal in the ground at a copper price of $9 000/t and an exchange rate of R19 to the dollar, could result in a significant increase of Copper 360's measured and indicated resource category upon further confirmatory drilling.

MINE COMMISSIONING

Copper 360’s Rietberg mine is going into commissioning phase. “We've started the opening of the mine. Our heavy mining equipment is arriving this week, and then we've got some significant drillhole intersections and we’re pushing quite hard on that.

“When they're in steady state, the revenue from those two plants is almost R80-million rand a month. That'll be the focus along with getting Rietberg into production safely and on time and producing rock.

“From there on, the next major focus point will be the construction of a solar plant, and we're in discussions about that, to augment our current energy.

“We've just also finished the construction of a generator farm on our operations and where we had about 60% availability as a result of the off-and-on between Eskom and our generators, with this farm, we have seamless transition, and our plants are now running at 97% availability. All-in-all, everything is moving in a very good direction but we've got a busy year, and we're looking forward to producing a lot of copper.”

What should be the main takeaway from the latest news?

I think the takeaway for shareholders is that we are now building cash so that we can pay them a dividend early next year.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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