Home » Unlocking Value: DRDGOLD Eyes Copper in Tailings Dams Project

Unlocking Value: DRDGOLD Eyes Copper in Tailings Dams Project

Partnership with Copper 360 Could Double Copper Output, CEO Reveals

by Adenike Adeodun

On March 27, 2024, an exciting development unfolded in the mining sector as Copper 360, a burgeoning Northern Cape copper company, entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with DRDGOLD’s Far West Gold Recoveries, a subsidiary renowned for its expertise in tailings retreatment. This strategic alliance aims to explore the economic feasibility of copper recovery from the extensive tailings dams under Copper 360’s ambit. This collaboration could potentially unlock significant copper resources, underscoring the innovative approaches companies are adopting to optimize mineral recovery in an environmentally conscious manner.

Copper 360, led by CEO Jan Nelson, has identified approximately 50 to 60 million tonnes of dump material across its tailings dams, with copper grades ranging between 0.18% and 1.5%. This revelation suggests an in-situ copper metal content of around 450,000 tonnes. The partnership with DRDGOLD’s subsidiary is poised to embark on a meticulous due diligence process, involving an independent Lidar survey to accurately determine the volume of tailings material. This initial step is crucial for assessing the viability of the copper recovery project.

Jan Nelson, in his interview with Mining Weekly, emphasized the potential benefits of this partnership. By leveraging DRDGOLD’s extensive experience in dump retreatment, Copper 360 can focus on its core mining activities while exploring the possibility of augmenting its copper output through tailings recovery. This approach aligns with the company’s strategic focus, avoiding distractions from its primary mining operations, which include the commissioning of two processing plants at the Rietberg mine and the evaluation of five new mining sites.

The due diligence phase is pivotal, as it will determine the economic viability of the copper tailings recovery project. Should the findings be favorable, DRDGOLD’s Far West Gold Recoveries could acquire a 50% interest in the tailings dams, subsequently operating the project. This potential joint venture underscores the collaborative spirit within the mining sector, aiming to harness untapped resources efficiently and sustainably.

Copper 360’s proactive approach to exploring tailings recovery is a response to the evolving dynamics of the copper market and the increasing importance of sustainable mining practices. The historical build-up of tailings at the O’Kiep, Carolusberg, Lower NamaCopper, and Upper NamaCopper dams presents a unique opportunity. These dumps, originating from mining activities dating back to the 1930s, are now at the forefront of Copper 360’s strategy to enhance its copper production without incurring the full capital investment typically associated with such undertakings.

The partnership’s success could significantly impact Copper 360’s production capacity, potentially doubling its projected output to between 60,000 and 80,000 tonnes of copper per year over a three-year horizon. Such an outcome would position Copper 360 alongside major copper producers, emphasizing the untapped potential within existing tailings reserves.

This collaborative venture between Copper 360 and DRDGOLD’s subsidiary exemplifies the mining industry’s shift towards innovative, environmentally responsible recovery methods. It highlights the potential to recover valuable resources from by-products of past mining activities, aligning with global trends towards sustainability and resource efficiency. The outcomes of this due diligence process will not only influence Copper 360’s operational focus and financial projections but also contribute to broader discussions on the role of tailings recovery in the future of mining.

As the industry eagerly awaits the results of the due diligence study, the potential for a significant increase in Copper 360’s copper production underscores the transformative power of strategic partnerships. Leveraging DRDGOLD’s expertise could herald a new era of resource recovery, marking a significant milestone in the company’s journey and potentially setting a precedent for similar initiatives globally. The endeavor reflects a broader commitment to innovative, sustainable mining practices, promising to deliver value to shareholders while contributing to the global copper supply in an environmentally conscious manner.

Source: Mining Weekly

You may also like

Leave a Comment

The African Miner is the vanguard of the mining industry, delivering world-class insight and news.

Latest Stories

© 2024 The African Miner. All Rights Reserved.