Dubai-based Consolidated Copper Corp wants to restart the Tschudi copper mine by May 2024.
The company also wants to restart Matchless, Otjihase copper mines, and Berg Aukas zinc mine. The mines were under the Bonohgroup, which took over from Weatherly Namibia Ltd. in 2018.
Consolidated Copper, founded in 2022, took over the mines in March 2023 when the Competition Commission approved the deal.
Tschudi Copper Mine
Consolidated Copper has already invested US$100 million at Tschudi, upgraded metallurgical testing, and provided the necessary infrastructure.
Exploration and development work at the Tschudi copper mine has revealed an ore reserve of 27Mt, which will translate into 171Mt of finished copper over the mine’s lifetime.
The Tschudi copper mine is 20km west of the township of Tsumeb within the Otavi Mountain Land.
Weaverly’s subsidiary, Ongopolo, operated Tschudi after receiving environmental approval in 2013.
The mine produced its first copper cathode in early 2015 at a nameplate production rate of 1400t per month (17,000 tpa).
Tschudi encountered structural problems with flooding and metallurgical issues, resulting in a production downgrade.
The mine went into care and maintenance in 2018, and Weatherly appointed John Sisay, the CEO of Consolidated Copper, to manage it. In 2020, all operations at Tschudi were suspended.
Consolidated Copper says it has completed further geo-metallurgical and historic drill tests at Tschudi, which revealed more copper available at a deeper depth, extending the mine’s life from three to 11 years.
The company plans to construct a concentrator at Tschudi to increase the output of contained copper by 40% to 24,000t.
Current works at Tschudi have extended to assaying for copper, iron, sulphur, and calcium to better delineate ore zones through advanced grade control drilling.
Matchless and Otjihase
Consolidated Copper says it has recruited an ex-Glencore underground mining specialist to focus on developing a 10-year mine plan for Central Operations—Matchless and Otjihase mines.
Consolidated Copper has valid mining licences, environmental clearance certificates, and all other required permits to restart mining at the Otjihase and Matchless mines.
Otjihase was in production until September 2015, when its then-operator placed it into care and maintenance.
Consolidated Copper says it undertook fresh exploration and identified a resource amount of 4.40 Mt at 2.27% Cu for 99.7 Kt at the two mines.
At Otjihase, Consolidated Copper has identified US$2 to 3 million in capital expenditure required to restart the Otjihase mine.
Consolidated Copper is evaluating the potential to produce 10–12 ktpa of copper in concentrate at a basic cash cost of US$2/lb for the next 10 years, with a capital expenditure of less than US$10 million.
The company targets fresh exploration of the sites to determine their potential and to drill new ore blocks within developed areas, targeting 5Mt.
Consolidated Copper’s focus at Otjihase is to drill the western margin of the orebody at Tigerschulcht, which has a +/-1Mt resource at 1.8% existing levels.
Matchless has been in care and maintenance for about 30 years.
Drilling is underway at Matchless West to determine the likelihood of a further oxide resource after the mine site floods.
Consolidated Copper says there is copper underneath. The company is undertaking metallurgical test work to identify ore sorting processes that remove 65% of waste and to explore the possibility of introducing a smaller-scale concentrator if this is beneficial.
The Matchless West mine has been mined to level 24, and Consolidated Copper is confident that the ore level will continue to level 51.
Consolidated Copper says exploration results indicate that three more outcrops have been discovered. These outcrops hold a possible 1Mtpa with the potential for 4-5Mt if all outcrops are mined. These orebodies will produce high-grade copper at >2%.
Consolidated Copper’s consultants have found that the mine today has high-grade 13% zinc and 6% lead. The resource is estimated to target a 1.5–2Mt oxide cap on the hill, which has not been touched in recent years. There is also a 6Mt oxide cap on the tailings dam at 6% zinc.
Recent reports show that the mine can handle 3000 m3/hr in operation and potentially up to 4800 m3/hr.
Consolidated Copper is investing in extensive pre-feasibility research to determine the most suitable and value-adding course for Berg Aukas’s future restart activities.
Berg Aukas’s zinc-lead-vanadium deposit was discovered in 1913. From 1920 onwards, the mine was operational in varying capacities.
Berg Aukas was placed under care and maintenance in mid-2018, and Consolidated Copper took over the management of the assets in mid-2022.
Future work for Berg Aukas will include assessing marketing and exploration opportunities.
A PFS of the Berg Aukas mine, last updated in 2018, has identified a variety of minerals below the surface. At 1.26 mt, there is 15.47% zinc and 3.84% lead.
There is potential for a 10+ year life of mine.
The Berg Aukas mine is near Grootfontein, about 100km southeast of the Tschudi copper mine site and the Otavi Mountain Range.
The now-Berg Aukas mine opened in the 1920s and was significantly operational from 1958 to 1978.
From 1967 to 1978, it was reported that 2.3Mt of material at 15.0% zinc, 3.9% lead, and 0.85% vanadium oxide were hoisted from the mine, and, of this, 1.5Mt of ore at 21.5% zinc, 5.5% lead, and 1.23% vanadium oxide were milled. The mine closed in 1978, with significant resources remaining unexploited.
Source: The Extractor Magazine