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Copper 360 Revives Northern Cape with Historic Shipment

First Copper Concentrate Shipment in 21 Years Boosts Stocks

by Adenike Adeodun

Copper 360, a rising star in South Africa’s mining sector, has reignited copper production in the Northern Cape with its first shipment of copper concentrate in over two decades. This milestone has led to a significant surge in the company’s stock prices, witnessing a 26% increase. As the only listed pure copper producer in South Africa, Copper 360’s latest achievement marks a promising turn in the nation’s mining industry.

In a recent interview with Martin Creamer of Mining Weekly, Copper 360 CEO Jan Nelson detailed the remarkable progress and future prospects of the company. Nelson highlighted the exceptional quality of the concentrate produced, the rapid operational scaling, and the strategic advancements that could position South Africa as a key player in the global copper market.

During its initial phase, the Nama Copper plant, Copper 360’s first concentrate facility, achieved profitability within just six weeks of operation. The plant’s success has been fueled by high-grade copper concentrate production, exceeding expectations with a 30% grade during its commissioning phase—considerably higher than the global average of 24%.

Copper 360’s journey began with the commissioning of the Nama Copper plant, which produced 70 tonnes of concentrate, 76% more than its target of 40 tonnes. The company anticipates that within three months, production will exceed 1,000 tonnes per month, accelerating well ahead of initial projections. The second plant, MPF 1, is slated to start production by the end of July, aiming for 1,400 tonnes of concentrate per month.

This expansion is significant as it supports the company’s broader strategic goals, including the operation of its solvent extraction and electrowinning (SX/EW) plant, which recently reached a break-even point. March saw the SX/EW plant produce a record 60 tonnes of pure copper, and projections suggest an increase to 100 tonnes per month within the next quarter.

Nelson is optimistic about the region’s potential, referencing its historical significance as a major copper district from the 1940s to the 1980s, with large orebodies and extensive mining infrastructure left by former mining giants like Newmont and Gold Fields. He believes that the revitalization of these assets will play a crucial role in the resurgence of the area as a copper powerhouse.

The operational excellence at Copper 360 is not just a result of acquiring advanced plants ready for production but also stems from the strong teamwork and management driving the company. The recent addition of a new plant manager and an operations manager has strengthened this dynamic, enabling the company to exceed its production targets impressively.

Looking forward, Nelson discussed the strategic plans for the company’s second concentrate plant, MPF 1, which will further enhance Copper 360’s production capabilities. Both concentrate plants aim to produce copper grades between 30% and 50%, with a combined target of approximately 750 tonnes of copper metal per month.

In addition to boosting production, Copper 360 is focused on enhancing the recovery rates of its operations. Recent investments of around R35 million have led to improved recovery efficiencies, jumping from 40% to 60%, with expectations to reach 75% soon. These enhancements have significantly impacted the SX/EW plant’s output, contributing to its record production figures.

Beyond production, Copper 360 is also looking to add value locally by potentially developing facilities to manufacture copper wire and copper pipe in the Northern Cape. This move aligns with the South African government’s push for local beneficiation and would capitalize on the additional margins these products offer.

As Copper 360 continues to expand and optimize its operations, the company is not only setting itself up for financial success but also contributing to the environmental cleanup of historical mining sites. This dual focus on profitability and sustainability underscores Copper 360’s role as a revitalizer of the Northern Cape’s copper mining heritage and as a leader in responsible mining practices.

The strategic moves by Copper 360, driven by a skilled team and innovative management practices, underscore a bright future for the company and its stakeholders. With the first dividend payment on the horizon for next year, Copper 360 is solidly on track to becoming a key contributor to South Africa’s mining sector and its broader economic landscape.


Source: Mining Weekly

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