Kombat Mine back in business

Canadian-owned Trigon Metals has achieved commercial production from its underground operations at Kombat Mine as of 30 April.

According to a statement issued by the company on Friday, this achievement marks a major step forward in Trigon’s path to becoming a leading mid-tier copper producer.

Trigon defines commercial production status as operating at 70% of production capacity over 30 consecutive days.

“After restarting mining operations from the open pit in May 2023, the company commenced production from underground ahead of schedule, having announced underground training and the first blast on 5 February 2024,” the statement says.

The build-up to commercial production levels has gone smoothly and exceeded Trigon management’s expectations.

Rennie Morkel, the company’s president and chief operating officer, says: “Congratulations to our home-grown owner-operated underground mining teams. Reasserting Kombat as an underground copper-producing mine is a tremendous achievement for the operation, the company and our community.

“Going forward we will look for opportunities to grow production from underground, which in turn should increase our copper production and our profitability. My sincerest appreciation to the entire Kombat team, under the guidance of our vice president of operations Fanie Muller, for their tireless efforts in achieving this important milestone for the future of Kombat.”

Jed Richardson, Trigon chief executive and executive chairman, says: “Increased grade from underground has profoundly impacted our metal production, making each tonne more profitable. It has improved recovery in the mill and increased the grade of the concentrate.”

He says underground production has resulted in an increase in the company’s metal output, owing to the higher grade of ore retrieved from the underground.

“As more high-grade ore tonnes from underground displace lower-grade open-pit ore, copper production increases, which is expected to translate into lower operating costs,” Richardson says.

The company has benefited from the expertise of many experienced miners who have remained in the vicinity of Kombat, dating back to 2007 when Kombat Mine was last in operation.

The operation targeted 500 tonnes per day (tpd) underground and 500 tpd open-pit production in April to fill the mill’s 1 000 tpd throughput capacity.

In April this year, production from the underground averaged 552 tpd and has continued to exceed expectations, producing more than 1 000 tpd on four occasions in May.

Ore processing occurs at the refurbished Kombat plant, with a current operating capacity of 30 000 tonnes per month.
Plans are underway to increase the capacity to 60 000 tonnes per month to accommodate ore from both underground and surface sources.

Dewatering continues at the mine, where water is being pumped at a rate of 2 800m3/hour, well above the in-flow rate of 1 200m3/hour.

The mine is now dewatered to 315m below shaft collar.

Backup power capacity is in place to ensure an uninterrupted power supply for underground pump systems.
– email: matthew@namibian.com.na

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