Positioned For Growth
Ruashi is an open-pit copper and cobalt mine located 10 km from Lubumbashi in the Katanga Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Mine comprises three open-pits and a modern solvent extraction electro winning processing plant.
The Ruashi deposits are stratform sediment-hosted, copper deposits located in the Central African Copperbelt- the Copperbelt forms one of the world’s largest metallogenic provinces containing over a third of the world’s cobalt mineral reserves and a tenth of the world’s copper mineral reserves.
Ruashi Mining sprl was registered as DRC Company in 2005, and is the owner of the mining rights (PE578). The project has been developed in two phases, phase 1 being the construction of the concentrator to treat the oxide stockpiles at both Ruashi and Etoile, with a life of approximately four years, and phase 11 is the mining of the Ruashi opencast ore body. These are high grade copper/cobalt resources with a life in excess of 30 years.
The flotation plant that has a capacity of 70 000 tpm was constructed to treat stockpiles and to produce oxide concentrates. The phase two of the project entailed the construction of an expanded concentrator, the acid leading section and a solvent extraction, electrowinning (‘SX/EW’) plant for the production of copper and cobalt metal on site, as well as additional projects.
The construction of the Sulphuric Acid / Sulphur Dioxide (‘S02’) combination Plant is now complete and the installation of the plant became necessary because of the increased usage of acid and SMBS, as a result of the increased production costs of copper and cobalt at the mine.
The advantages of having the plant erected on site includes; heat via steam will be provided for iron removal at the cobalt plant in order to improve the quality of cobalt; heat via steam will also increase the electrolyte temperature thereby improving EW tankhouse performance. In addition heat will be provided to wash tanks to improve the washing efficiency for good sulphate removal, and will also improve cobalt precipitation performance and the residual heat in the process water will improve cobalt leach efficiency.
The project for the installation of three agitated spin flash driers (‘SFD’) for the purpose of drying cobalt hydroxide prior to shipping, incorporating a mechanical bagging system was completed in 2012. The heating system for drying the cobalt utilises hot air from electric heaters, and entails the inclusion of steam pre-heater. This has reduced the reliance on electricity, resulting in lower operating costs of the drier units.
In addition, the installation of the driers has allowed the cobalt plant capacity to match the cobalt drying capacity and the volume of air increased by five percent within a space of 12 months.