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Zambia-DRC power project on course

THE Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) says the second Zambia- Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) 220 kilovolts interconnector project is on schedule and is expected to be commissioned in the third quarter of this year.
In 2009, CEC submitted an environmental impact statement report on its plan to implement the project and it was approved.
According to the company’s consolidated audited results for the year ended December 31, 2014, issued by company secretary Julia Chaila, the project will facilitate the development of an efficient regional power market, which will decelerate the increase of electricity prices in the Southern African Development Community.
Mrs Chaila said the project is important as it will expand the current capacity of the transmission corridor between Zambia and DRC to 550 megawatts from 250 megawatts.
She said the project will also contribute to enhancing regional power trade in the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) and offer a firm path in support of CEC’s increasing important international power trading business.
“The second Zambia-DRC 220 kilovolts interconnector project is anticipated to be commissioned by the end of the third quarter of 2015,” she said.
The group intends to complete a feasibility study for the hydro-power station on the Luapula River this year to help increase its power generation capacity. So far, the company has spent over US$2 million on the initial studies.
Under the project, there are five hydro sites capable of generating 700 megawatts which define the border between Luapula Province in Zambia and Katanga Province in DRC.
“We will continue to develop other projects in Namibia, Sierra Leone and Zambia, including the completion of feasibility for potential hydro projects on the Luapula River,” she said.

Source – Daily Mail Zambia

R17.5m Anglo project to improve, accelerate mine rehabilitation

Diversified miner Anglo American’s thermal coal business, Anglo Thermal Coal, has developed and patented a bioconversion technology that it believes could significantly reduce the cost and improve the rate and quality of opencast mine rehabilitation.

The bioconversion technology, which claims “to do in six months, or one growing season, what nature does in 60 years” has been trialed at four Anglo American coal mines and, in certain applications, had shown “extremely” positive results, on rehabilitated mining pits and coal discard facilities, said Anglo American mine closure manager Henk Lodewijks in a statement.

Known as Fungcoal, a combination of the words ‘fungi’ and ‘coal’, the R17.5-million project harnessed fungi and weathered coal to produce natural fertilisers that were regarded as the building blocks of soil fertility and plant life.

The project was being undertaken in partnership with Rhodes University’s Institute for Environmental Biotechnology.

The partnership began in 2004 when Anglo Thermal Coal sought ways of accelerating and improving the quality of rehabilitation at its opencast mines.

“Research showed that certain fungi had the ability to break down and liquefy coal that had been exposed to the elements. When accompanied with other microorganisms, they created humic and fulvic acids, which acted as natural fertilisers,” said Lodewijks.

He pointed out that humic and fulvic acids had two important properties. Firstly, they promoted soil microbe and plant growth and, secondly, significantly alleviated the compaction of rehabilitated soil – one of the greatest rehabilitation challenges facing the industry.

“As discard coal was used as a medium on which certain grass species grew, we significantly reduced the need for topsoil, a scarce and costly resource,” explained Lodewijks.

“Our aim is to restore the ecology of land that has been disturbed using organisms that cannot be seen with the naked eye,” he said.

Rhodes University professor Keith Cowan added that all organisms act in concert and enable the environment to ‘resurrect’ itself, further stating that the research team had been fortunate to discover in a relatively short time fungi and bacteria that were so important to the process.

“We are finding a complete toolkit of organisms for land that has been disturbed to ensure that it can be returned to communities for economic activity almost immediately after mining has ended,” Cowan commented.

The next step in the project would be to establish a thorough record of land that had been rehabilitated with Fungcoal and gain a greater understanding of Fungcoal’s use in other applications and over a longer time.

Engagement with regulators would take place as the project moved closer to the commercial phase.

Source – MiningWeekly

Wesizwe to reach full production more than 2 years ahead of schedule

JOHANNESBURG ( – JSE-listed Wesizwe Platinum’s optimisation plan for the Bakubung platinum mine, approved on Wednesday, aimed to improve the business case of the mine, given the current economic and social environment in the mining industry in South Africa.

“We decided to embark on the optimisation plan owing to lower metal prices, increasing cost pressures, changing social climate and working condition requirements, and technical challenges currently facing other mines in the industry,” Wesizwe Platinum COO Paul Smith said at media briefing in Johannesburg, on Thursday.

The optimisation study builds on the bankable feasibility study undertaken by the mine in October 2009.

A key result of the optimisation plan will see the Rustenburg-based operation reduce the time of ramping up to full production by 26 months. “The initial 230 000 t/m production level is now planned for October 2020 as opposed to December 2022, said Smith, and will increase to 250 000 t/m of run-of-mine ore at full capacity.

Other key results of the optimisation plan would see the number of the mine’s employees reduced by 235 people to 3 135 in service during steady-state, as a result of adopting semimechanised operation.

The project is 17% complete to date. The primary focus, which was on shaft sinking, was progressing and the company reported that the main and ventilation shafts had achieved depths of 396 m and 567 m respectively.

The sinking of a third raise-bore shaft was also planned to start next year and would assist in ventilation and logistics.

The optimisation plan would also enable Wesizwe platinum to reduce the capital required for the project by just over 10% to R10.69-billion, down from R12.03-billion.

Meanwhile, Wesizwe on Thursday also announced that it expected to report a basic loss a share for the year ended December 31, 2013, of between 0.52c  and 0.58c, compared with basic earnings a share of 0.60c for the previous comparable period.

Further, headline loss a share for the year ended December 31, 2013, was expected to be between 0.63c and 0.69c, compared with headline earnings a share of 0.70c for the previous comparable period.

Source – Mining Weekly