Katanga Mining, which is a subsidiary of diversified major Glencore, says its cobalt debottlenecking project is progressing on schedule.
In an update to shareholders published on Friday, the Democratic Republic of Congo-based company said three new filter presses, a magnesium oxide reagent plant within the existing cobalt circuit and the construction of two cobalt hydroxide dryers are scheduled for completion and commissioning during the first quarter of this year.
Further, the commissioning of an acid plant at Katanga’s 75%-owned Kamoto Copper Company (KCC) subsidiary is expected to start in the fourth quarter of this year.
During the fourth quarter of 2018, the final components of Phase 2 of the KCC whole-ore leach project, being the remaining counter-current decantation circuit and the electrowinning tankhouse, were commissioned.
Meanwhile, Katanga’s copper cathode production increased to 152 358 t in 2018 from the 2 196 t produced in 2017.
Cobalt contained in hydroxide production increased to 11 112 t in 2018 from nil tonnes in 2017.
The export of cobalt hydroxide by Katanga’s KCC subsidiary remains suspended.
Katanga expects cobalt production for this year to reach 26 000 t, but the sale of cobalt is now only expected to resume in 2020.
Copper cathode production for this year is expected to reach 285 000 t.
Katanga has also announced an updated ore reserve and mineral resource estimate.
Overall, the measured and indicated mineral resource for KCC decreased by 7.9-million between December 2017 and December 2018, while its inferred mineral resource decreased by 2.9-million tonnes, as a result of depletion owing to mining activities in 2018.