The $320 million Synclinorium Shafts project is rapidly taking shape and Mopani has completed the Pre-sink stage at 81meters deep and commencement of the main sinking of the main shaft at the end of April 2012.
The commencement of Main Sink stage entails the installation of the main Sinking Platform and start of the main sinking of the shaft.Other works that are being undertaken at this stage include construction of the Sinking Headgear, installation of Kibble and Stage Winders and the commissioning of all ancillary services required to ensure that the sinking phase continues.
Meanwhile many works on the project have already been completed. These include inter alia; construction of the Shaft Collar, which marked the first milestone in December 2011 and opened the way for further pre-sink works, construction of a 1.5MW power substation, Piling Phase 1, fencing and construction of drainage around the project site, building of terraces, road diversions, Batch Plant and offices.
At construction stage of this project, Mopani has so far created about 400 jobs and the total expected labour force at construction stage is 500 jobs.
Once completed the Synclinorium Shafts project will extend the life of Mopani’s Nkana operations by more than 25 years, well beyond the current expected depletion dates of the existing reserves at Mindola North, SOB and Central shafts of 2015, 2017 and 2018 respectively.This will lead to securing of about 3,000 jobs which would otherwise have been lost as a result of closure of the current mines.
Mopani mines Chief Executive Officer Danny collaw says the company has started a new path at Mopani that brings hope and more confidence in the future of copper mining in Zambia.
Mr. callow says the $323 million investment in the Synclinorium Shafts project which gives a new breath of life into mining at Nkana is a testimony of the faith in the Zambian economy and the company’s commitment to the Zambian people.
He has stated that this project will not only extend the life of the mine and provide the much needed employment, but will also extend and increase government revenue through tax and other spillover benefits to the community.As one of the biggest construction projects currently underway in Zambia, the Synclinorium Shafts project involves construction of a 7 meter diameter main shaft and a six meter diameter ventilation shaft to a depth of 1,277 meters, providing Mopani with access to some 115 million tones of ore at a grade of 1.9percent copper and 0.09 percent cobalt.
Once fully operational, the project will increase ore production at Nkana Mine Site from 3.4 million tones per annum today to around 5.1 million tones per annum by 2018.The Synclinorium shaft is part of a $2 billion recapitalization programme in Mopani by its major shareholder, aiming to not only improve production, lower unit costs and create employment, but also to ensure that mining can be carried out in a safe and responsible manner.
The final phase of the smelter upgrade project, which will cost $450 million, will ensure that legacy issues surrounding the emission of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere will be reduced to a world class standard