UPDATE: Kibali Gold Mine
Press Release--The ongoing search for additional reserve ounces at Kibali will secure its future as a long-life mine and one of Africa’s largest gold producers, according to Randgold Resources chief executive Mark Bristow. Randgold develops and operates the mine, which it owns in partnership with AngloGold Ashanti and the Congolese parastatal SOKIMO.
In 2014, its first full year of operation, the Kibali gold mine produced 526,627 ounces of gold at a total cash cost of $573/oz and Bristow told a media briefing here that production and cost for the first quarter of 2015 were likely to be within guidance.
“When you’re producing gold at the rate of around 600,000 ounces per year, the need to replace the reserves that are consumed is of critical importance,” Bristow said. “We believe Kibali’s KZ structure hosts significant additional resources, and our continuing exploration is confirming this potential. A number of targets have been identified and the Kalimva-Ikamva and Kanga sud targets have been prioritised for in-depth investigation.”
Kibali is still a work in progress, with its third open pit now operational and the development of its underground mine ahead of schedule. Ore from its stopes is already being delivered to the plant but the underground mine is only expected to be in full production by 2018. The first of the mine’s three hydropower plants was commissioned last year and work on the second is well underway.
The metallurgical plant is operating at its design capacity and construction of the paste plant is nearing completion. Despite the high level of production and development activity -- some 5,000 people are employed on site -- Kibali is maintaining a good safety record, with the lost-time injury rate reduced by 16 percent last year.
Kibali represents an initial investment of more than $2 billion and at a gold price of $1 200/oz and its current mine plan is only expected to repay its funding after 2024. Thanks to its strong cash flow, however, it has already been able to repay the first tranche of its debt in March.
Bristow said Kibali was continuing to invest in the development of the regional economy by using local contractors and suppliers wherever possible. A prefeasibility study on a palm oil project, designed to provide a sustainable source of post-mining economic activity for the region, has been completed and work on a bankable feasibility study has started.
On the issue of the DRC’s proposed new mining code, Bristow said he welcomed Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo’s recent statement that the government was ready to re-engage with the mining industry with the intention to review the draft submitted to parliament and was open to further discussions with the sector.
“We were surprised and disappointed when the ministry of mines presented a draft code to parliament without taking the industry’s comments on board and which departed radically from the common ground we thought had been established. As the DRC chamber of mines warned at the time, enactment of the code in this investment-hostile form will have a catastrophic effect not only on the mining sector but on the Congolese economy generally. It was therefore very heartening to learn from the prime minister that the government has recommitted itself to negotiation,” he said.
BHP, Rio Tinto & Vale launch Charge On Innovation Challenge
Mining giants BHP, Vale and Rio Tinto have launched the 'Charge On' Innovation Challenge to solve one of the biggest challenges the industry faces today - decarbonising mining operations.
'Charge On' Innovation Challenge
In partnership with Austmine, Australia's leading mining equipment, technology and services industry association, founding patrons BHP, Vale and Rio Tinto have launched the competition to encourage technology innovators to develop new concepts for large-scale haul truck electrification systems. The main goal is cutting emissions from surface mining operations.
“The mining industry needs to be at the forefront of tackling the climate challenge. The Charge On Innovation Challenge is a great example of the current collaborative work being done by the mining industry and mobile equipment manufacturers to decarbonise mining fleets,” the trio said in a media statement.
“In addition to providing a zero-carbon energy source, the conversion of mobile mining equipment to battery-electric can potentially unlock value, as electric motors have fewer moving parts when compared to standard equipment.”
A number of non-traditional mining sector vendors are actively developing technologies that can assist in mine electrification. By submitting a Challenge to the market, the Patrons of Charge On expect to:
- Demonstrate there is an emerging market for charging solutions in mining
- Accelerate commercialization of solutions
- Indicate to suppliers, the mining industry seeks interoperable solutions
- Maintain multiple actors and competition in the supply chain
- Integrate innovations from other sectors into the mining sector
"We expect some solutions identified in the Challenge could provide propulsion to existing diesel-electric trucks. This may present a pathway to early implementation for dynamic charging solutions," the trio said.
Found patrons BHP, Vale and Rio Tinto are pledging their commitment to fighting climate change:
"The mining industry has an important role to reduce emissions and do our part to achieve the Paris Agreement goals to limit the impacts of climate change."
The Charge On Innovation Challenge asks vendors to present interoperable solutions that can safely deliver electricity to large battery-electric off-road haul trucks in a way that maintains or improves current productivity levels. Specifically, mechanisms capable of delivering in the order of 400kWh of electricity to each truck within a haul cycle (ie load, travel, dump, return, queue). The delivered electricity is to charge a battery, and if applicable directly propel the truck.
Austmine CEO Christine Gibbs Stewart commented: “We expect the Challenge will attract companies from a broad range of sectors including mining, automotive, aerospace, agriculture, and defence to deliver selected charging concepts to create a standard product that can interface with all trucks."
More information about the challenge will be released on May 18.
The competition echoes growing efforts being made across the industry to tackle emmissions and promote electrification. In march this year, the Electric Mine Consortium was launched. It's founding members include Gold Fields, Dassualt Systemes and Sandvik who pledged their commitment to decarbonising mining operations.