Kinsenda Copper Company
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
Concentrator Plant, Mining Development, Mining- and Surface Infrastructure
Kinsenda is a copper mine located in the south of the DRC that was originally developed by the Japanese during the 1970’s. A conventional mining method was used to extract ore to surface using a vertical and three decline shafts all equipped with winders that would bring ore to surface from the three separate ore bodies. The ore was then transported to the nearby Mushoshi mine for processing.
During the civil war (1998-2003) the mine was left to flood and since then ownership changed a few times before Metorex acquired the majority shareholding during 2007. Metorex immediately investigated the opportunities associated with developing the mine, but this was placed on hold as a result of the Global Financial Crisis with only dewatering continuing. At the same time Metorex was busy with a buy out deal with Jinchuan who now fully owns the Metorex group.
The project consisted of upgrading existing mining infrastructure including the manufacturing and installation of a new winder for one of the decline shafts, allowing mining operations to commence from within the existing mine. In addition a new decline shaft was developed from surface to allow a mechanised mining method for the remaining 12 years of mining.
On surface, comprehensive new infrastructure had to be established to service the mechanised mining fleet and new mine development as no support mechanisms are established in this region. The electrical infrastructure and reticulation had to be completely replaced including three new 2,5MVA generators providing backup power to the mine during outages which is a regular and severe problem in the region.
A new Process Plant was established to process both Oxide and Sulphide ore as the mine never had its own processing facility. Sulphide concentrate will trucked to Zambia and Oxide concentrate to Metorex’s Ruashi plant near Lubumbashi.
DRA Global initially assisted the client with the feasibility study for the project and this was subsequently followed by the execution project where DRA was appointed as the EPCM contractor for the entire scope of work.
The key challenges experienced during the project comprised of both technical and social challenges such as delays associated with importing equipment and supplies into the DRC, a lack of technical skills from the local area as well as an aging existing mining labour force which had an average age of over 50 with virtually no skills handover or development during the last decade. Mine development was severely hampered with exceptionally poor ground conditions resulting in several Fall of Ground incidents as well as the existing decline shaft which was used as a main access into the mine collapsing causing a mud rush down the shaft and a sinkhole on surface.