Mawson West starts commissioning of DRC flagship

5th November 2014 By: Henry Lazenby - Creamer Media Deputy Editor: North America

TORONTO ( – Commissioning of Africa-focused miner Mawson West's Kapulo mine, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has started, with construction capital costs having been reduced by about $14-million.

The Perth, Australia-based company said on Tuesday that the ramp-up to nameplate capacity was expected to be reached in the first quarter of next year, targeting a production rate of about 20 000 t/y of copper in concentrate.

Mawson noted that front-end construction of the plant from the crusher to the crushed ore stockpile was now complete and electrical and mechanical commissioning had started. The grinding circuit electrical and instrumentation was also complete with the ball mills scheduled to be turned next week.

In the wet plant, the flotation cells had been installed, as well as the filter press and thickeners. Flotation cell piping and electrical cabling installation continued on schedule. Diesel generation units, transformers and motor control centres had been commissioned and were now energised.

Further, the raw water, process water, potable water tanks and supply systems had been installed and the tailings storage facility was scheduled to be complete early this month. The raw water dam was also complete.

The company added that it had spent about $96-million of construction capital at Kapulo as at the end of September. Construction capital costs had been reduced to about $110-million from previous estimates of about $124-million, as a result of scope modifications, productivity improvements and lower installation costs.

Mawson on Tuesday also reported operating results for the September quarter at its Dikulushi mine, also in the DRC, where it had produced 852 t of copper and 44 954 oz of silver. Output came in below expectations owing to lower grades processed, as openpit mining was transitioning to an underground operation.

The company said that it was hoping to update reserves and resources at the mine in the first quarter of next year to extend the mine life to about mid-2016.

"Dikulushi has started delivering ore tonnes from the caving mining method introduced in July, although results were below expectation primarily as a result of dilution issues from the openpit interface.

“The latest underground drill results at Dikulushi set the scene for potential mineral resource and reserve updates over the coming months,” Mawson CEO Bruce McFadzean said.

The company also reported that it had about $12-million cash in the bank as at the end of October.