Central Asia Metal’s Kounrad copper operation, in Kazakhstan, is now recovering the metal from the Western dumps on the property. In April, the company applied the first acid through an extensive drip irrigation system to an initial leach area on its dump 22 and when QuotedData visited the site last week we observed pregnant leach solution (PLS) pouring into the collection trenches. From there the solution is pumped to the SX-EW plant on the eastern side of the property to recover the copper.
In its first five years of operation, Kounrad produced 57kt of copper from the Eastern dumps, where the mineralisation is predominantly oxide. The successful exploitation of the more sulphidic Western dumps will extend production, at the current rate of 13-14kt/y of copper, for at least another 15 years. The Western dumps are estimated to hold about 175kt of recoverable copper.
The initiation of production from the Western dumps marks the completion of an expansion and extension project that Kounrad embarked on in 2015. CAML funded the project entirely from generated cashflow. As well as an expansion of the plant capacity, the company has installed new pumps and boilers, and constructed 12 km of twin pipelines to transport the raffinate and PLS between the collection ponds in the west and the SX-EW plant.
The company expects to produce 13-14kt of copper this year, with about 38% originating from the new Western area.
Kounrad starts producing copper from new dump: CAML