Glencore subsidiary Katanga Mining, which trades on the TSX, has installed nearly 20 km of new perimeter security fencing at its Komoto Copper Company (KCC) site in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where at least 41 illegal miners died earlier this year when part of the copper and cobalt mine collapsed.
Construction of additional perimeter controls would continue into next year, the company, led by CEO for the year, Mark Davis, said in an update to shareholders this week.
Katanga reported that, since the armed forces of the DRC entered the area of the operations of KCC, the illegal miners remain dispersed.
The army was deployed in south-eastern Congo in June to push off thousands of illegal miners from KCC’s mine and that of China Molybdenum’s Tenke Fungurume. Residents and local activist groups accused the army of human rights abuses, with reports that soldiers torched homes belonging to miners and farmers, ransacked a school and caused a fire that caused burn wounds to children.
Katanga said that it was not aware of any confirmed human rights violations during the armed forces intervention near KCC’s site.
Meanwhile, Katanga said it remained in negotiations with State-owned La Générale des Carrières et des Mines its 25% partner in KCC, to secure land for the construction of a new long-term tailings facility.
The miner is also making progress with its main projects, which includes a cobalt debottling project. The project entails upgrades to the existing cobalt plant design to reduce bottlenecks through modification of the precipitation, thickening, filtration, drying and bagging processes. This will align the design of the cobalt plant with the average life-of-mine cobalt production plan of 30 000 t/y.
Execution of the cobalt projects at KCC remained ongoing and would continue throughout 2020. The additional thickening capacity was expected to come on line during the second quarter of 2020.
Full cobalt drying capacity should be reached at the start of the third quarter, at which point KCC would be in a position to export all its cobalt production.
Cobalt dryer #1 has returned to operation at a reduced capacity, of about 60% of design, following the completion of temporary repairs. Dryer #2 remains off line for design modifications, with commissioning scheduled during the first quarter of 2020, and reaching design capacity in the second quarter 2020. Once dryer #2 is operational, dryer #1 will be taken off line for design upgrade. Dryer #1 is expected to then be back online and operating at full capacity in the second quarter.