Copper 360 gets the bit between its teeth with first production of copper concentrates

Copper cathodes waiting for dispatch

Junior miner Copper360 has made the first delivery of copper concentrates from the Nama Copper plant which it acquired in November last year for R200m in a deal that also came with additional copper tailings resources and increased surface rights contiguous to its existing Nababeep processing facility.

Copper360 CEO Jan Nelson commented the Nama plant “produced 136 tonnes of concentrate over a commissioning period of three weeks achieving our plan. The achievement is remarkable in the light of the fact that concentrate grades in excess of 30% were produced.”

Nelson added “the plant is forecast to produce in excess of 1,000t of concentrate per month within three months which will be two months ahead of planned production.”

The newly-commissioned plant is being fed with broken ore from previous  mining operations that is lying on surface at Copper360’s Rietberg and Jubilee mines.

The stockpiles are sufficient to keep the plant running for two years but Nelson said work is underway to restart mining operations at Rietberg which will add undergound ore to the plant feed.

“Our second concentrate plant – MFP1 – is planned to start production at the end of July 2024 with a target capacity of 1,400t of concentrate per month.”

Nelson pointed out this was the first shipment of copper concentrates from the Northern Cape province in 21 years although Copper360 has been producing copper cathode for the past three years from its SX/EW (solvent extraction/electro-winning) plant treating tailings material at the former O’kiep mine at Nababeep.

Nelson commented, ”Copper360 is extremely proud of this achievement heralding not only the first copper concentrate production from the area in 21 years but also because it marks the start of new era of copper production in South Africa.

“We have delivered on plan and at copper concentrate grades that are world class. Our focus is now to bring our second concentrate plant into production and ramp up copper output.”

Nelson said having three treatment plants – two for copper concentrates and one for copper cathode  “will make all the difference in terms of operational flexibility and maintaining production in the event of problems at any one of the plants.

“We have had our problems with the SX/EW plant but those are now under control. The SX/EW plant delivered a record performance in March 2024 producing some 60 tonnes of pure copper metal and is well on track to ramp up to 100 tonnes of copper per month within the next quarter.”

He added that producing copper concentrates was cheaper and more profitable for the business that producing copper cathode.

In March Copper360 announced it had a signed a memorandum of understanding with DRDGold which gave DRDGold a period of 12 months during which to conduct a due diligence study on treating the approximately 50mt to 60mt of dump material controlled by Copper360 which were estimated to continue 450,000t of copper in situ.