Central Asia Metals to Wholly Own Kazakh Kounrad Copper Mine
Sunday 5 February 2012
(Press release) – London-listed Central Asia Metals (CAML) on Thursday said it is buying the remaining stake on the Kounrad copper mine in east Kazakhstan. CAML also announced the completion of its copper plant at Kounrad in Kazakhstan and expects to put it into action at the end of this month.
CAML has 60% ownership of the waste dumps from the now dormant Kounrad open pit copper mine located in south-central Kazakhstan close to the city of Balkhash. These “waste” dumps have accumulated from open pit copper mine operations between 1936 and 2005. Taking advantage of the well-developed local infrastructure, CAML’s management targeting to start commissioning of the 10kt plant in Q1 2012 with full production levels ramping up during H1 2012.Mechanical and electrical dry commissioning of equipment has already commenced under ‘no load’ conditions and piping is being subjected to pressure tests. The Company intends to water test and punch list the EW and SX circuits from late February through to the end of March.
(Photo: Vlad Shtelts)
The company, listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in London, said it agreed with SAT Group to purchase the 40 percent stake with 8.6 million shares, or 9.1% of Central Asia Metals. The SAT Group comprises SaryArka Social Entrepreneurial Corporation National Company and Sat & Company, Kazakh firms.
CAML also announced the completion of its copper plant at Kounrad in Kazakhstan and expects to put it into action at the end of this month.
The solvent extraction electrowinning facility will process around 10,000 tonnes of copper cathode a year and the company said it expects first copper production in April this year.
Importantly, the firm thinks it will deliver this first production and complete the construction phase of the project for less than the budgeted amount of US $46.9 million stated in the Kounrad feasibility study in March 2010.
Central Asia Metals had hired Australia based PPM Solutions to oversee and assist in the phased commissioning of the plant. SaryArka Social Entrepreneurial Corporation National Company JSC had carried out a tender process for the sale of its 40% stake in the project.
And the company together with the SAT Group won the tender. The firm has an agreement to subsequently buy the 40% of the project in exchange for 8,616,593 company shares representing 9.1% of the share capital.
Mr Nick Clarke CEO of Central Asia Metals said that “There has been extremely encouraging progress at Kounrad over the last quarter. The ability to achieve material completion of the project under budget and broadly in line with our initial schedule is a testament to our staff and partners in Kazakhstan. We remain confident that we will achieve our goal of commercial copper cathode production at Kounrad in April 2012 without additional funding.”