Kabwe Mine to reopen end of 2013
BMR which is listed on London Alternative Stock Exchange (AIM) has all its resource operations located in Zambia. Its business strategy is to acquire and treat tailings deposited at former mines in Zambia. And it is one of the few companies operating in Zambia registered on the London Stock Exchange.
Kabwe Mine, initially known as the Broken Hill Mine was once regarded as one of the most famous mines in Africa and held a key position of national economic importance to the country. During its life-time the mine produced over 2.6 million tons of lead and zinc, together with other metals which include vanadium and cadmium.
Over the years Kabwe mine has experienced various changes in private ownership from 1904 until the Zambian Government nationalized it in the 1970’s. Last year BMR completed the acquisition of all the relevant assets at the Kabwe Mine Site, which included Mine Plots from ZCCM-IH, Alberg Mining and Silverlining and the Large Scale Mining License from ZCCM-IH. BMR owns the remaining un-mined or partially-mined underground resources at Kabwe, including the shafts, infrastructure and the surface rights. The ore bodies within the licence areas are estimated at a volume of 51 million tons, with a combined grade of 4.01% of contained zinc, lead and other minerals. Samples of the tailings materials tested in South Africa concluded that recoveries of zinc up to 96% are achievable from the Washplant and Leachplant materials at the mine. Small quantities of other metals were also recovered such us Gallium and Germanium, both primarily used in semi-conductor production.
BMR Development Plan for the Kabwe mine for lead and zinc project consists of four distinct development projects namely:
– The 4-year beneficiation plan for the Washplant Tailings
– The 10-year plan for the Leach Residue Tailings
– The exploration of the No 2 ore body and Old Airfield underground ore bodies
– The exploration of the large potential ore bodies on BMR’s large scale license to the south-east of the Kabwe Mine
BMR signed an agreement with Yunnan Xiangyun Feilong Nonferrous Metal Company (“Feilong”) which is a significant producer of Zinc, Lead and associated metals employing over 7,000 people in the Yunnan Province of China. Feilong verified the composition of the samples it received from Kabwe, visited Kabwe mine and are now co-operating with BMR in the design, planning and erection of the appropriate processing plant to produce metal concentrates to commence processing by August 2013.
Kabwe town has been named one of the top 10 most polluted cities in the world due to the legacy of mining with 6.5 million Metric tons (“Mt”) of above-ground tailings dumps with lead and zinc grades of 11.1%. These dumps have been left after the processing of ores from the mining to produce the metals. However the dumps cause water-borne and wind-borne pollution of the Kabwe region. BMR will be processing the dump material and removing the metal but at the same time working within the Copperbelt Environmental Project guidelines to process the Dumps in an environmentally sustainable manner resulting in removing a major environmental and health hazard and remediating the land. The Environmental Project Brief for the drilling and verification process was submitted to the Zambian Environmental Management Agency and was approved on 30 December 2011.
As an integral part of its Zambian activities, BMR has implemented active community sponsorship programmes, concentrating on supporting education in schools near its operations and sports pitch provision. The first school to benefit from this is the Charles Makungu Nkole Community School at Kabwe where BMR is building a perimeter wall and supplying equipment to fully equip a computer room.
Masoud Alikhani is convinced that as well as providing a return on its investments his company will bring benefits to Zambia. “We are cleaning up the environment, introducing new technologies, creating new employment and not impinging on existing resources” he says. “And we will be paying taxes and contributing to the country’s export revenues as well as supporting ‘good causes’ wherever we are involved”
With the resuscitation of Zambia Railways Limited, railway sidings adjacent to the Kabwe mine will facilitate quick and efficient transport of minerals to a selection of Indian Ocean ports.