Central Asia Metals has successfully commissioned additional solvent extraction and electro-winning (SX-EW) capacity at its Kounrad copper recovery plant in Kazakhstan. The SX-EW plant’s annual copper production capacity has been increased by 50% to 15,000 tonnes and the company is on track to achieve its 2015 production target of 13,000 tonnes.
The stage one expansion project was completed ahead of schedule and within budget. The internally funded $13.4 million program included construction works and equipment installation for the extended SX-EW facilities, all undertaken by company personnel.
The extra mixer-settler tank has increased the plant’s solution treatment capacity by 33% to 1200 cubic metres per hour and the additional 24 electro-winning cells have increased the plant’s daily plating capability by 42% to 50 tonnes of copper. The infrastructure upgrade also included the installation of an additional 10MW transformer substation.
The stage 1 expansion and additional 5.6MW boiler capacity installed towards the end of 2014 have increased the plant's name-plate annual capacity from 10,000 to 15,000 tonnes of cathode copper.
Central Asia Metals’ CEO Nick Clarke says, “The completion and successful commissioning of the expanded plant at Kounrad is another important milestone achieved by the company in its development of the project. The credit for this noteworthy achievement is principally due to our dedicated team in Kazakhstan whose hard work, diligence and expertise made it possible to accomplish the expansion on time and within budget.
“The company’s main focus is now on implementing the stage 2 expansion program, the approvals process for which is proceeding as scheduled, and on continuing to actively seek growth opportunities in Central Asia and other regions.”
The next major investment will be on the western dumps to provide the next 15 years of material. The project is likely to cost US$18-19 million to complete and will go live in 2017.