Copper 360 to start underground mining at Rietberg early

Copper concentrate

COPPER 360 has taken delivery of underground mining equipment for its Rietberg Mine development in South Africa’s Northern Cape.

The equipment, financed in installments with Epiroc Financial Solutions, will enable mining to begin at Rietberg in the first half of this year, some three months ahead of schedule. Equipment consists of loaders, haulers, drill rigs, scissors lifts, scalers, and a grader, the company said in an announcement on Monday.

“The early delivery of our underground equipment marks another notable milestone in the company’s forward momentum,” said Jan Nelson, CEO of Copper 360.

Underground production from Rietberg, due from next month, which supplement and life replace ore from surface deposits which only have a two year life of mine. Concentrates are being supplied to Copper 360’s Nama Copper, the processing plant the company recently acquired for R200m.

The company said in April it had received the first copper concentrate from Nama Copper. Some 136 tons of concentrate was produced over a commissioning period of three weeks. In total, the plant is forecast to produce in excess of 1,000 tons of concentrate per month within three months – about two months ahead of planned production.

On April 23, Nelson requested the Financial Sector Conduct Authority to investigate “unusual and uncommercial” trades in the company’s shares which could have breached the Financial Markets Act.

Nelson said the trades had continued “on a systematic and sustained basis for a period of several weeks”. He added that “if the investigations reveal impropriety the company intends to take steps to recover any losses it may have sustained as a result, and to prefer criminal charges against responsible individuals and institutions.”

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 50 to 60 million tons of dump material controlled by Copper360 which were estimated to continue 450,000 tons of copper in situ.