“There is some light at the end of the tunnel,” he commented on a conference call to discuss the copper miner's second-quarter performance.
The DRC has reviewed and identified areas for renegotiation of about 60 contracts entered into between foreign companies and State mining firms during and immediately after the country's civil war, in order to determine the legality of the deals and renegotiate those seen as unfair to the State.
The government has indicated that it wants to renegotiate the mining contracts for Anvil's Dikulushi, Mutoshi and Kinsevere operations, and discussions with the government, as well as with State miner Gecamines, are ongoing, Turner said.
He expressed optimism that the review and renegotiations, which have been hanging over companies with assets in the country for more than a year now, would be concluded before the end of this year.
Anvil posted second quarter net income of $8,5-million, a decline of 76% compared with the same period a year earlier.
The company's performance during the quarter was “disappointing”, but it was working to resolve operational difficulties at the Dikulushi and Mutoshi mines, Turner said.
At Dikulushi, after ore extraction and underground development rates lagged expectations, the firm decided to switch from a sublevel caving mining method to an Avoca cut and fill method, and has brought on Perth-based mining contractor Byrnecut to implement the new method.
Although there is additional capital cost involved in modifying the mining method, ore recovery rates are expected to improve significantly as a result, Turner said.
At Mutoshi, the firm has suspended mining operations altogether, while it considers alternative mining methods and studies the feasibility of building an SX-EW facility at the operation.
It has enough stockpile to continue processing until December, and expects to meet its 2008 production guidance of 9 000 t of copper, but will stop operations at Mutoshi at the end of the year.
Metallurgical recoveries from the heavy-media separation process had declined to the point that it made more sense to “preserve the resource” until the SX-EW plant was in place, DRC operations VP Toby Bradbury said.
The scoping study on an SX-EW plant was expected to be completed by year end, after which the firm would move towards a feasibility study. An updated resource estimate at Mutoshi is also expected this year.