Lower Zone of Cukaru Peki Mine Holds 16 Megatons of Copper and 333 Tons of Gold – Zijin Seeking Green Permit for Exploitation Worth USD 3.8 Billion

Source: eKapija Tuesday, 24.10.2023. 12:41
Illustration (Photo: iurii/shutterstock.com)Illustration
Serbia Zijin Mining doo Bor has filed to the competent ministry the request for deciding on the necessity of the environmental impact assessment of the project of the exploitation of mineral deposits of copper and gold in the lower zone of the Cukaru Peki mine.

In the document prepared by Dvoper doo Belgrade and the Mining Institute, it is reminded that the project of the upper mine zone was completed and put into operation at the end of June 2021.

It is said that the lower zone of the mine consists of porphyritic rock with an ore body of huge proportions and raw materials in which the copper content of the ore exceeds 0.30%, in the amount of 2,049.55 Mt, with copper quantities of 15.70 Mt, an average copper content in the ore of 0.77% and the accompanying gold content in the amount of 332.64 t, with an average gold content of 0.16 grams per ton.

– The project of the lower mining zone encompasses the construction of an underground mine, the facility for the processing of ore and the disposal of waste rock on the surface, side facilities such as a ventilation system, a dust removal system, a command center and storage, a facility for the supply and distribution of electrical energy, a water supply and drainage system, a communication system and a facility for environmental protection – the project says.

It is added that the exploitation of the lower site will be done underground. The production is expected to begin in 2024. The total production cycle of the mine will be 41 years, and at the same time, the exploitation of the upper site will be completed within the next ten years.

Considering that the proportions of the ore body in the lower zone are very big, in order to reduce initial investments and problems with the excavation, the plan is to split the exploitation into three phases. Phase I pertains to the ore body to the –800 m cote, Phase II to the ore body from the –1300 m cote, and Phase III from –1800 m to 1300 m.

The ore body below the –1300 m is deeply covered and will be excavated after additional explorations, as an additional replacement resource, the request says.

The facility for the processing of ore in the 1st phase of the development of the mine will be in close proximity to the pit. The construction of the flotation facility for the 2nd phase in the development of the mine is planned in a location around 1 km away from the site, toward the village of Slatina, and 5-7 km northeast, the plan is to build a new flotation waste rock disposal site in the zone of the settlement of Ostrelj.

Based on the resources in the lower mining zone, the scope of the production in phase I is determined at 45 kt a day, that is, 14.85 Mt a year. The scope of the production in phase II amounts to 90 kt a day, that is, 29.70 Mt a year, whereas in phase III, it is additionally increased to 135 kt a day, that is, 44.55 Mt a year.

The final product of the mine will be copper concentrate. It is pointed out that the quality of the of the copper concentrate is good (21%), with a gold content of 2.42 g/t to 4.41 g/t.

The new flotation concentrator will be built in phase I, and the location of the factory is planned east of the mining area and 170 m east from the production pit.

The second flotation will be built in phase II, and the location of the factory is planned 0.5 km east of the mining area and 1 km west of road no. 166.

The procedure of preferential flotation of copper – re-grinding and concentration of the rough copper concentrate – is used in the flotation process.

During its production cycle, the mine will produce 1,083.53 Mt of the flotation waste rock, including phase III, and the waste rock disposal site is planned in the valley of the River Krivelj, around 5 km northeast of the pit downstream from the flotation waste rock disposal site Veliki Krivelj.

The planned development of the mining activities and the construction of side facilities of the Cukaru Peki mine – Lower Site will cause the necessity of the moving of the entire settlement of Ostrelj and parts of the settlement of Slatina, the document says.

At the beginning of September, the Memorandum of Understanding was signed for this investment by Zijin and the Ministry of Mining of Serbia.

With the Memorandum on the Development of the Lower Zone of the Cukaru Peki Mine, Zijin Mining confirmed its intention to invest an additional USD 3.8 billion in the Republic of Serbia, the ministry announced at the time.

The Memorandum on the Development of the 300 MW solar power plant project for the company's needs was signed at the same time.

– Thanks to today's Memorandum, which entails USD 3.8 billion in new investments, Serbia will rank among the largest European copper producers and leading gold producers, but also create the possibility for additional investments, of course with the obligation to apply the highest environmental standards – said the minister of mining and energy of Serbia, Dubravka Djedovic Handanovic.

B. P.

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