Mopani Copper Mines Plc, a unit of global commodity trader and Switzerland based Glencore Xstrata has in earnest stepped up efforts to complete the much awaited US$323 million Synclinorium Shaft at the Company’s Nkana mine in Kitwe to elongate the mine’s lifespan.
The shaft, which when completed by next year will seek to increase the mine’s lifespan and increase copper production at one of Zambia’s oldest mines by 25 years has received a major fillip from the developers who have completed the installation of the 26.5 ton permanent Blair Winder as part of the effort to step up production.
Company spokesperson, Cephas Sinyangwe in a statement, Sept.25 says the installation of the winder which forms parts of the construction of the shaft has been completed, marking an important milestone in the construction of the US$323 million state-of-the art Shaft.
The shaft, he adds is aimed at extending the life of the mine by a further 30 years – beyond the current expected depletion dates of the existing reserves at Mindola North, SOB (South Ore Body) and Central shafts of 2015, 2017 and 2018, respectively.
Danish based Actom and FL Smidth designed the permanent Winder with different winder components manufactured in England, Japan, China and Germany and will ultimately replace the 12 tones temporary sinking Winder currently in use once Shaft sinking and equipping works are completed. The 26.5 tones Winder will run at a remarkable speed of 15 meters per second, he adds in a statement citing company chief executive officer, Danny Callow as saying.
“Installation of the permanent Winder at the Synclinorium Shaft marks an important step towards completion of shaft construction. This was a mammoth task that has been executed diligently, professionally and on schedule and budget. We are currently cold commissioning the Winder and are quite happy with what we have seen so far, though full functioning of the Winder is dependent on the completion of the main Shaft.”
Sinyangwe’s statement citing Callow added that the Company was carrying out civil and other construction works at the Loading Station at 1234 metres while mining development from SOB to Synclinorium Shaft is currently in progress.
“With regard to our horizontal development underground, so far we have developed the Incline to the new Crusher, the conveyor drive to the Synclinorium Shaft and the decline to the Shaft bottom.
“In terms of shaft sinking we are only remaining with less than 10 meters before reaching the bottom of the shaft. We will then start equipping the Shaft from bottom-up before the end of 2014 and this will take another year to complete.”
Preparations for the installation of a 64-metre high permanent Headgear for the Synclinorium Shaft were advanced and the company would soon receive the Headgear structure from the manufacturers.