CAML restarts its operations at Sasa mine in North Macedonia
Sasa mine, in North Macedonia owned by Base metals miner Central Asia Metals Limited (CAML) had a recent leakage at the tailings storage facility, or TSF4. The company has paid a €65 000 fine for the incident. Reporting on the clean-up activities, CAML said that it had already completed the clean-up of a high-priority 350-m section of the river.
The company has recently received approval to restart operations at the mine. The plant will initially operate at 50% capacity before ramping up to full production in about a week’s time. CEO Nigel Robinson said that the company should be able to meet its original 2020 guidance for zinc and lead in concentrate production.
In January, CAML gave 2020 Sasa ore production guidance of between 825 000 t and 850 000 t, resulting in zinc in concentrate of between 23 000 t and 25 000 t and lead in concentrate of between 30 000 t and 32 000 t.
While 2020 ore mined would remain within this guidance range, CAML said it would process between 800 000 t and 825 000 t, given the downtime from the incident. However, in-concentrate production would remain in its guidance.
Excluding production downtime, CAML reported that the total cost of the TSF4 incident, comprising dam repairs and engineering improvements to the facility as well as environmental aspects, would be below $1.5-million.
The miner expected to receive official go-ahead to start the rest of the clean-up work within the week. It is projected that the bulk of the tailings will be removed and disposed of in a secure and safe location on the Sasa mine site by the end of 2020.
Central Asia Metals’ Sasa mine in North Macedonia will pay the fine for leakage
Central Asia Metals has been the sole owner of the North Macedonian Sasa mine since 2017. Sasa is an underground zinc and lead mine located in north eastern North Macedonia that produces approximately 820,000 tonnes of ore per year.
UK-based Central Asia Metals plc (CAML), the owner of Sasa mine, reported on September 14 a short-term leakage of tailings from Sasa’s TSF4 facility into the local river. No person was harmed in the incident. The exact cause of the incident has not been confirmed.
North Macedonia’s environment ministry said that the Sasa zinc-lead mine has reached an agreement with the State Inspectorate for Environment to pay a total of 65,000 euro ($75,515) in fines and take sanitary measures over a tailings leakage incident that took place earlier this month.
The State Inspectorate for Environment imposed a 50,000 euro fine on the Sasa mine as a legal entity and a 15,000 euro fine on the responsible employee, the ministry said in a statement.
Under the agreement between the State Inspectorate for Environment and Sasa, the mine is also obliged to clean the part of Kamenica river and the nearby hydropower plant that were polluted, as well as take additional measures to avoid future similar incidents at the mining site, the ministry said.