The Eastern Area for Mixed Ore Development of Tenke Fungurume Copper-Cobalt Mine in the DRC Produces High-Quality Copper Cathode Successfully
On October 27th, the eastern area for Mixed Ore Development of Tenke Fungurume Copper-Cobalt Mine in the DRC (hereinafter referred to as the "TFM Copper-Cobalt Mine"), for which China Nerin undertook the overall design, the EPC of full mine automation, the EPC of acid plant, and the supply of electro-winning cathode stripping machines, was put into operation with success and produces high-quality A-level LME copper cathode.
As a world-class mine located in the renowned Central African Copperbelt, the TFM Copper-Cobalt Mine ascends to be one of the prestigious copper-cobalt mines boasting the greatest reserve and the highest grade worldwide by virtue of its resource of over 28 million tons of copper and 3 million tons of cobalt. In May 2016, China Molybdenum Group acquired the mine from Freeport International Group of the United States and continued to expand the production and renovate the mine. As the mining depth of the ore body extends gradually, the ore grade also drops progressively, demonstrating a tendency of mixed ore resources, where oxidized ores and sulfide ores are in close symbiosis. Such mixed ore is a mixture of sulfur and oxygen, a complex of copper and cobalt, which consumes large acid and fluctuates in oxidation rate; it is a kind of complex mineral that is difficult to treat by mineral processing and extractive metallurgy.
Since the commencement of the project, the client China Molybdenum Group has raised the demand of "challenging the impossible". Despite harsh external conditions and tight construction schedules, China Nerin adhered relentlessly to their philosophy of "building success for clients" and fully carried forward the unremitting spirit of Nerin people. During the epidemic period, Nerin people acted as dauntless retrogrades in the direction towards the site for multiple times, overcoming various obstacles such as tight schedules, high technical difficulties, poor on-site working condition, etc. In the end, China Nerin broke the bottleneck of the traditional process and achieved a number of innovative results in the mineral processing and extractive metallurgical process. The independent development of key technology for green and efficient extraction of “sulfur-oxygen mixed” copper-cobalt ores has significantly improved the recovery of copper and cobalt in the project, technically safeguarding the project’s successful implementation.
After the eastern area of the mixed ore development project reaches the target output, the capacity of high-quality copper cathode from the TFM copper-cobalt mine will hit 450,000 tpa, and the cobalt metal content of cobalt hydroxide will reach 35,000 tpa, accounting for approximately one third of China’s imported cobalt volume in 2022. The TFM Copper-Cobalt Mine thereby emerges to be the world’s largest AA-level ESG smart mine using the combined process of mining, processing, hydrometallurgy, and acid production systems to produce “copper + cobalt”.
The successful commissioning of the project is the epitome of China Nerin's joint construction of the "Belt and Road Initiative", demonstrating the company's comprehensive engineering and technical strength in undertaking world-class wet extraction copper and cobalt mine projects, and leading the green revolution in copper and cobalt processing and metallurgical technology in the world's nonferrous metals industry, further expanding China Nerin’s popularity and influence in the industry in Africa and even the world. This project not only delivers valuable copper and cobalt strategic resources to our nation, greatly improves the security of national strategic resources, and expands mutual trust and cooperation in the African mining field, but also effectively promotes the economic growth and social development of the DRC and has achieved mutual benefit, win-win and shared development for both parties.