By JAMES KUNDA –
KONKOLA Copper Mines (KCM) has recorded a 47 per cent ramp-up, in the fourth quarter of the full year 2018, on account of improved mined output, driven by higher equipment availability.
The mined metal production for the fourth quarter of this year, was up by 47 per cent at 22,000 tonnes due to improved mined metal output from Konkola.
Another contributing factor on the anticipated increase was the reconfiguration of Nchanga underground mine to increase production.
This is according to a production release for the fourth quarter and full year ended March 31, this year, by Vedanta Resources Plc, the major shareholding firm in KCM.
The report stated that lower by eight percent quarter on quarter production recorded, primarily on account of lower copper recoveries at the Tailing Leach Plant (TLP) and the impact of heavy rains on ore and water mining at Nchanga Open Pit, but which had now stabilised.
Vedanta said in the period under review, ‘custom volumes’ were at 21,000 tonnes, 34 per cent lower year on year and quarter on quarter due to lower concentrate availability as a result of heavy rainfall in the region and the resulting increased demand.
It indicated that water levels at the Kariba Dam significantly improved due to a healthy rainy season, resulting in an improved power situation in the country and pursuant to the development, Zesco Limited evoked the Force Majeure declared in 2015.
Vedanta said the KCM business partnering model was on track and mobilisation of recourses underway for sustained secondary developments and production from a new area at Konkola.
“The waste mining programme for enhanced access to the high-grade ore
body at open pit and focus on preventive maintenance programmes at TLP, which were impacted by the heavy rains, are expected to start delivering volume improvements from the first quarter of the full year, 2019,” the report said.
Meanwhile, the report said on the financial year 2018 versus the financial year 2017, mined metal production was at 91,000 tonnes, three percent lower year on year primarily impacted by trackless equipment availability in the first half and the preventive maintenance programmes at TLP in the second half of the full year 2018.
Vedanta said integrated volumes were at 84,000 tonnes, lower than metal production due to stockpile at smelter and refinery for blend optimisation and scheduled refinery ramp-up, respectively.
The report said custom volumes were at 111,000 tonnes, 32 per cent higher year on year.