By Staff Writer
Nchanga Open Pit (NOP) is focusing on Zero harm, people development, production improvement projects and cost saving initiatives in order to achieve and sustain its contribution of 70 percent to the safe 400 plus production target.
Outgoing NOP Manager Cross Silwamba has said the four-pronged approach is key to ensure continuity of operations and production at Nchanga even as KCM plans to ramp up production at Konkola deep mine, which has the highest grade copper.
NOP is currently mining conventional ore from Chingola Open Pit (COP) F& D, Cut II and Chingola Refractory Ores (CRO) stockpiles (SP) No. 12 and No. 6. It produces an average 900,000 tonnes of CRO at 0.5 percent acid soluble copper for leaching and 150,000 tonnes Sulphide copper from COP F& D and CUT II at 0.8 percent acid insoluble copper to produce concentrate.
Mr Silwamba said, “We have achieved over 6,000 Lost Time Injuries (LTI) free hours by intensifying safety activities. We have also embarked on programmes to improve supervisory skills of shop floor leadership, refresher training for operators to increase efficiencies and mentorship programmes for middle management among other things.”
He added that J.V Chantente and GRN, the KCM business partners at the NOP, have purchased more equipment in order to increase production.
“In an effort to increase concentrate production to 80 tonnes per day, NOP has engaged a business partner to help in waste stripping to expose more sulphide ore. J.V Chantente has recently acquired 10 new 45 tonnes articulated dump trucks and one excavator. In addition, GRN recently purchased 23 new trucks,” Mr Silwamba said.
The purchase of the trucks and excavator by the business partners has increased equipment availability from 70 to 80 percent.
NOP has also put in place plans to extend the life of the mine currently at 3-4 years by exploring new resources and reopening old pits. This is also in line with the company’s 50 year-vision for mining in Zambia.
“Conventional ore sources have a life of 3 to 4 years under prevailing economic conditions. However, the CRO stockpiles have a life of about 8 years. We are working with the Nchanga technical team to explore new opportunities of growth and to unlock other satellite pits like Mimbula, COP C & E extension, COP F& D underground, Luano and Kakosa South Ore bodies”, he said.