The mine has undergone several expansions since it began operating in 2005. From an initial production capacity of 110,000 tonnes of copper, Kansanshi is now capable of producing 340,000 tonnes of copper and more than 120,000 ounces of gold per year. A multi-stage expansion project aims to increase copper output capacity to approximately 400,000 tonnes.
Mining is carried out in two open pits, Main and Northwest using conventional open pit methods and employing hydraulic excavators and a fleet of haul trucks. Ore treatment is flexible to allow for variation in ore type either through an oxide circuit, a sulphide circuit and a transitional ore 'mixed float' circuit with facilities to beneficiate flotation concentrate to final cathode via the HPL circuit.
First Quantum Minerals is a well-established and growing metals and mining company operating six mines and developing the world-class Cobre Panama project. We currently produce mainly copper, gold, nickel and zinc.
First Quantum's primary product is copper. Copper has a wide range of applications because of its many useful properties. It is malleable, durable, strong and heat resistant. It is also one of the most efficient conductors of electricity and heat. Copper is used to manufacture copper wire, copper products and copper alloy products.
Wire and cable copper is used for or formed into general industrial cable, utility power cable, telecommunications cable, insulated wire and winding wire for electrical motors. Wire and copper cable is also used in heating and air conditioning systems, plumbing, roofing and brass fittings.
For electrical and electronic devices such as televisions, radios, lighting, computers and mobile phones, copper wiring is used for electrical leads, adapters, transformers and motors. Copper compounds and chemicals are used to protect plants and crops and to preserve wood. Copper tubing for plumbing, heating systems, air conditioners and refrigerators accounts for a significant use of copper.
Copper may also be used in alloy products which include copper sheet and strips and brass fixtures used for building fixtures and fittings.
The price of copper is primarily determined by changes in supply and demand, which are in turn affected and determined by global economic conditions. Copper consumption by Asian countries has increased demand for the metal and, in the last few years, has led to higher prices.
First Quantum also produce gold at the Kansanshi mine. In addition to its use in jewelry, gold has many other important applications. It plays an important role in modern health applications and research. It is used in medicines, lasers, thermometers and genetic research. Gold is the most ductile metal and is a good conductor of heat and electricity. It is used in computers, telecommunication, digital technology and space exploration.
In order to maximise its investments and increase productivity, First Quantum Minerals carries out comprehensive geotechnical exploration and drilling programmes to determine whether mineral deposits exist or not and to assess if it would be economical to mine at a particular site.
The company maintains a highly skilled team and fleet of surveying equipment to meet its target even with geological or environmental obstacles. First Quantum Minerals strives to eliminate missed targets and the associated costs of exploration and drilling. More than 120,000 metres of resource development drilling has been completed.
Oxide ore is treated via crushing, milling, flotation, leaching and the SX/EW process to produce a sulphidic and gold bearing flotation concentrate as well as electro-won cathode copper. Gold recovery by gravity in four gravity concentrators, providing two concentrators per milling train, and increasing gold recovery from all ore types. Gemini tables are installed to treat the gravity concentrates and produce a high-grade concentrate for direct smelting to gold bullion.
First Quantum is a leader in the mining industry and can takes complete responsibility for mine, infrastructure and development needs. First Quantum's diverse skills and knowledge have been successfully applied to some of the resource industry's most challenging and complex projects.
First Quantum has the systems and technical capability to successfully bring together the experience and knowledge gained in all phases of project development to complete project implementation solution.