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Kaz Minerals to double processing capacity at Aktogay copper mine

Metal News - Published on Tue, 26 Dec 2017

Image Source: Digital Look
Digital Look reported that Kaz Minerals has confirmed plans to double capacity to 50m tonnes per year at its Aktogay copper project in east Kazakhstan by 2021. The FTSE 250 company's board has given the green light to the USD 1.2 billion addition of a second sulphide concentrator at Aktogay, where an initial 25m tonnes-per-year processor began commercial production in October.

The second processor, which is expected to come on stream in the second half of 2021 and ramping up the year after, comes as Kaz eyes an increase in Aktogay's annual copper production from sulphide ore to 170,000 tonnes from 2022 to 2027 and 130kt thereafter.

Net cash cost guidance through to 2027 is expected to be kept at the current USD 1 to USD 1.20 per lb, as efficiency gains are anticipated from larger scale mining operations to offset an accelerated decline in mining grades. The mining fleet will be upgraded to support the higher ore throughput.

Directors said the expansion would generate a return in excess of the current consensus forecasts for Kaz's cost of capital.

Construction will be managed in-house and sub-contracts tendered next year, with a USD 200 million of the capital budget invested in 2018. The remaining expenditure will be incurred from 2019 to 2021, with sustaining capital expenditure from 2022 increasing to USD 50 to USD 60 million a year from USD 30 to USD 40 million.

Copper production from sulphide ore at Aktogay will increase by 80kt to an average of around 170kt per year from 2022 to 2027, supported by expected higher copper grades, with Aktogay's annual production predicted to be around 130k a year over the remaining life of the mine.

Due to higher processing volumes the life of the sulphide ore body will reduce from over 50 years to approximately 28 years. Copper cathode production from oxide ore at Aktogay will be unchanged at the current level of around 20kt per annum for the remaining eight year life of the oxide deposit.

Mr Oleg Novachuk chief executive, said that "This expansion represents an opportunity for our proven project team to deliver a strong return on investment from an asset we know well by replicating the existing sulphide plant. Our outlook for copper remains positive and this development will help us to continue to grow in a tightening market. The capital expenditure over the period to 2021 for the expansion will be supported by strong cash flows from our new, low cost operations at Bozshakol and Aktogay."

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Tue, 26 Dec 2017
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