Although Modern Mining is primarily focused on the Southern African region, we occasionally cover projects further north on the continent, particularly those with a heavy South African involvement. A case in point is Randgold Resources' Kibali gold mine, now moving into development, which will revive gold mining in the famous Kilo-Moto goldfield in the far north-east of the DRC.
The new mine, as Dr Mark Bristow and Dr Willem Jacobs of Randgold recently explained to Modern Mining, will be one of the biggest in Africa, producing at an average rate of 600 000 ounces a year for its first 12 years from a combination of open-pit and underground mining.
Back in South Africa, we look at the recent refurbishment of one of Xstrata Coal's draglines. The machine, a venerable 1570-W, was manufactured by Bucyrus (now Caterpillar) in the late 1970s for the Rietspruit mine. After its R110 million rebuild in 2009, it is now a more capable unit than when first entered service and is reportedly performing well at its current home - Xstrata's Goedgevonden coal mine near Ogies.
Copper is covered in an article on Weatherly International's Tschudi project in northern Namibia. Weatherly is planning an opencut mine at Tschudi utilising a heap leach, SX/EW processing route. The proposed level of production is small - 15 kt of copper cathode a year - but Tschudi will mark the return of copper mining to northern Namibia, as other operations in the area - Tsumeb and Kombat - are no longer producing.
Our special feature this month is on the surface mining contracting market and companies featured include two of the major opencast mining contractors, MCC and Basil Read Mining, as well as a niche player in the Middelburg area, Precision Opencast Mining Services (POMS). We also look at the question of whether it is possible to combine the best elements of owner mining and contractor mining in a single contractual model.
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Cat fleet powers mining contractor's expansion
Kuruman-based Blue Chip Mining has acquired new Caterpillar machines including new Cat 777F off-highway trucks and 90-t Cat 390 D L excavators to cater for its expanding operations. Among these, as our cover story explains, are a contract for Sedibeng Iron Ore in the Postmasburg area involving the loading and hauling of 24 000 tonnes of material a day.
Kibali project moves into construction
The new Kibali gold mine of Randgold Resources will exploit a mammoth resource of 18 Moz. When there is this much gold in the ground, even the DRC, an area noted for difficult logistics and an unruly political scene, starts to look attractive. The new mine will be a joint development by Randgold and AngloGold Ashanti, each with a 45 % share, and the DRC parastatal SOKIMO, with the balance.
MCC takes pro-active stance on labour issues
A year ago we spoke to Erich Clarke, the newly appointed CEO of MCC, which includes MCC Contracts, one of South Africa's biggest opencast mining contractors. We returned to his office earlier this month (March) to find out how his first 14 months in the ‘hot seat' had gone. His verdict: MCC is prospering but the past year has nevertheless been hugely challenging for the company, mainly due to labour issues.
Mining contractors develop strong ties
Basil Read Mining, the opencast mining contractor within the Basil Read Group, and Leighton Africa, part of Australia's Leighton Group, are forging close ties. The two companies are collaborating on the massive Cut 8 project at Debswana's Jwaneng diamond mine in Botswana and say there is every possibility of further joint ventures in the future.
Minas Moatize shows "compelling economics"
A Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) completed by independent consultants TWP Australia demonstrates "compelling economics" for Beacon Hill Resources' Minas Moatize coking coal project in Mozambique. Financial modelling using a 13 % discount rate, based on a 4 Mt/a Run of Mine (ROM) operation producing on average 2,2 Mt/a of saleable coking and thermal coal over a life of mine of 11,5 years, indicates an NPV (pre-tax ) of US$662 million and an IRR of 79,5 %.