ZUG, Switzerland, Dec. 3, 2018 /CNW/ - Katanga Mining Limited (TSX: KAT) ("Katanga" or the "Company") today announces that it has successfully completed the hot commissioning of Phase 2 of its whole ore leach ("WOL") processing facility at its 75% owned subsidiary Kamoto Copper Company's ("KCC") copper and cobalt mine in Lualaba Province, DRC. The commissioning of the pre-leach circuits is continuing as scheduled and is expected to be completed by the end of 2018. A progressive ramp-up of the facility is expected to follow with the objective of achieving full capacity of the WOL plant by the end of Q1 2019.
Johnny Blizzard, Chief Executive Officer of Katanga, commented: "We are very pleased to have entered into the final phase of the commissioning of the WOL processing plant project after three years of hard work. Following the commissioning of Phase 1 last year, and the commissioning of Phase 2, we are already seeing the benefits of improved recoveries, more predictable plant performance and looking forward to increasing production. We also look forward to achieving our expected production targets set for 2018 and ramping up to full production capacity of the new plant by the end of Q1 2019. The experience gained in 2018 on all fronts within KCC will have us well placed to achieve the targets set for 2019 and beyond."
Separately, good progress is being made on the construction of the cobalt debottlenecking project which comprises three new filter presses and an MgO reagent plant within the existing cobalt circuit and the construction of two cobalt hyroxide dryers. It is expected that both upgrades will be commissioned and in full production by the end of Q1 2019. This will align cobalt processing capacity with the KCC life-of-mine cobalt production plan of 30,000 tonnes per annum on average and 40,000 tonnes per annum maximum capacity.
The export of cobalt hydroxide by KCC remains suspended. As previously announced, the current situation relates to the levels of uranium contained in cobalt hydroxide produced by KCC. While a long-term technical solution in the form of constructing an ion exhange sytem is being reviewed, the Company intends to work with its partner Gécamines to look at various alternative interim solutions, both operational and regulatory, to recommence exports.
With the completion of Phase 2 of the WOL plant and the expected completion of the cobalt debottlenecking project in Q1 2019, the Company currently has the following production expectations for the next three financial years:
* Annual copper production guidance subject to +/- 15 kt variation
** Annual cobalt production guidance subject to +/- 2 kt variation
*** Revised 2019 cobalt production guidance is the consequence of the expected cobalt plant ramp-up and the assumed cobalt recoveries based on mine plan
Good progress is also being made on the sulphuric acid and sulphur dioxide plant (the "Acid Plant"). The earthworks for the Acid Plant have been completed, civil works have commenced and orders for major long lead items are beginning to arrive on site. Following a detailed process review, commissioning of the Acid Plant is expected toward the latter part of Q4 2019 with first acid expected in Q1 2020.
This press release was prepared under the supervision of Mr. Tahir Usmani, P.Eng, APEGA, Chief Mine Planning Engineer of Katanga and a "qualified person" as such term is defined in NI 43-101. Mr. Tahir Usmani has reviewed and approved the contents of this press release.
About Katanga Mining Limited
Katanga Mining Limited operates a major mine complex in the Democratic Republic of Congo producing refined copper and cobalt. The Company has the potential to become Africa's largest copper producer and the world's largest cobalt producer. Katanga is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol KAT.
Forward Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements, including statements regarding: the expected timing for completion of the commissioning of the pre-leach circuits for the WOL plant; the Company's expectation that it will achieve production targets set for 2018 and ramp up to full production capacity of the WOL plant by the end of Q1 2019; the Company's expections that the construction of the cobalt debottlenecking plant will be commissioned and in full production by the end of Q1 2019; the Company's intention to construct an ion exchange system and to work with its partner Gécamines to look at various alternative interim solutions, both operational and regulatory, to recommence cobalt exports; the Company's expectations regarding production for the next three financial years; the expected timing for commissioning of the Acid Plant; and other statements that are not historical facts. Often, but not always, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or describes a "goal", or variation of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will" be taken, occur or be achieved.
All forward-looking statements reflect the Company's beliefs and assumptions based on information available at the time the statements were made. Actual results or events may differ from those predicted in these forward-looking statements. All of the Company's forward-looking statements are qualified by the assumptions that are stated or inherent in such forward-looking statements, including the assumptions listed below. Although the Company believes that these assumptions are reasonable, this list is not exhaustive of factors that may affect any of the forward-looking statements. The key assumptions that have been made in connection with the forward-looking statements include the following: the recommencement of full operations of the Company remaining consistent with management's expectations, the anticipated performance of the WOL plant, the construction of the cobalt debottlenecking plant and Acid Plant remaining on schedule and within management's expectations, the construction of the ion exchange system to remove uranium from cobalt produced at the project remaining on schedule and within management's expectations and that it will serve the purpose for which it is intended, there being no significant disruptions affecting the operations of the Company whether due to labour disruptions, supply disruptions, power disruptions, rollout of new equipment, damage to equipment or otherwise; permitting, development, operations, expansion and acquisitions at KCC being consistent with the Company's current expectations; continued recognition of the Company's mining concessions and other assets, rights, titles and interests in the DRC; political and legal developments in the DRC being consistent with its current expectations; the continued provision or procurement of additional funding from Glencore for operations, and the Power Project (as defined in the Company's annual information form for the year ended December 31, 2017 dated April 2, 2018); new equipment performing to expectations; the exchange rate between the US dollar, South African rand, British pound sterling, Canadian dollar, Swiss franc, Congolese franc and euro being approximately consistent with current levels; certain price assumptions for copper and cobalt; prices for diesel, natural gas, fuel oil, electricity and other key supplies being approximately consistent with current levels; production, operating expenses and cost of sales forecasts for the Company meeting expectations; the accuracy of the current ore reserve and mineral resource estimates of the Company (including but not limited to ore tonnage and ore grade estimates); and labour and material costs increasing on a basis consistent with the Company's current expectations.
Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, future events, conditions, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, prediction, projection, forecast, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such factors include, among others: unforeseen action taken by the Ontario Securities Commission or other securities regulatory authorities; unforeseen delays or changes to the ramp up of production following the commissioning of the WOL project; unforseen delays to the construction of the cobalt debottlenecking plant, acid production plant or ion exchange system; actual results of current exploration activities; actual results and interpretation of current reclamation activities; unforeseen delays or changes to conclusions of economic evaluations; changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; future prices of copper and cobalt; increase in capital requirements to construct the cobalt debottlenecking plant, Acid Plant or ion exchange system; possible variations in ore grade or recovery rates; failure of plant, equipment or processes to operate as anticipated; accidents, labour disputes and other risks of the mining industry; delays in obtaining governmental approvals or financing or in the completion of exploration, development or construction activities, delays due to strikes or other work stoppage, both internal and external to the Company as well as those factors disclosed in the Company's current annual information form and other publicly filed documents. Although Katanga has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those described in forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause actions, events or results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.
The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.
SOURCE Katanga Mining Limited