KAZ Minerals Building Second Concentrator at Aktogay

The current sulphide ore concentrator at Aktogay (above) was commissioned in
February 2017.
KAZ Minerals is building a second sulphide ore concentrator at its Aktogay open-pit copper mine in East Kazakhstan province of Kazakhstan. The new plant will double Aktogay’s sulphide ore processing capacity from 25 million to 50 million metric tons per year (mt/y), with production scheduled to begin in the second half of 2021 and to ramp up to full capacity in 2022.

The current sulphide ore concentrator at Aktogay came into production in February 2017. The project began producing copper cathode from oxide ore in December 2015.

After startup of the second concentrator, production of copper in concentrate will increase from 90,000 mt/y to 170,000 mt/y from 2022 to 2027, supported by higher copper grades. Over the remaining mine life, when copper grades will be in line with the average resource grade of 0.34%, production of copper in concentrate will average about 130,000 mt/y. Due to higher processing volumes, the life of the sulphide orebody will reduce from more than 50 years to approximately 28 years.

Copper cathode production from oxide ore at Aktogay will continue unchanged at the current level of around 20,000 mt/y for the remaining eight-year life of the oxide deposit.

Construction the new concentrator will be managed by the KAZ Minerals’ projects division. Contracts will be tendered in 2018. The company anticipates that the capital budget for the project will be about $1.2 billion, with approximately $200 million to be spent in 2018. The remaining expenditures will be incurred from 2019 to 2021. The mining fleet will be expanded and upgraded to support the higher ore throughput.

Net cash costs of production at Aktogay are forecast to remain at current levels of $1 to $1.20/lb of copper, with efficiency gains from larger-scale mining operations offsetting the effect of accelerated grade decline as processing volumes are brought forward.

Sustaining capital expenditure will increase from a current range of $30 million to $40 million per year to $50 million to $60 million per year from 2022 onward.

KAZ Minerals Chief Executive Oleg Novachuk said, “This expansion represents an opportunity for our proven project team to deliver a strong return on investment from an asset we know well by replicating the existing sulphide plant. Our outlook for copper remains positive, and this development will help us to continue to grow in a tightening market. The capital expenditure over the period to 2021 for the expansion will be supported by strong cash flows from our new, low-cost operations at Bozshakol and Aktogay.”

As featured in Womp 2018 Vol 02 - www.womp-int.com