KAZ Minerals Approves USD1.2 Billion Kazakh Copper Expansion

KAZ Minerals Approves USD1.2 Billion Kazakh Copper Expansion

LONDON (Alliance News) – KAZ Minerals PLC said Thursday its USD1.2 billion Kazakhstan copper mine expansion project has been approved by the board with processing set to double from 2021.

The FTSE 250-listed miner said the expansion of the Aktogay copper mine will see processing capacity for its sulphide ore double from 2021. As a result, annual copper production from sulphide ore is set to increase to 170,000 tonnes from 2022 to 2027, whilst mining the higher grades, and go to 130,000 tonnes per annum thereafter.

At present, Aktogay generates around 80 kilotonnes of copper per annum. As a result of the increased processing, the mine life of the sulphide ore body has been reduced to 28 years from 50 years.

KAZ began commercial production at Aktogay in October. The company expects output from the new concentrator to commence from the second half of 2021 with a ramp up during 2022.

The project will be delivered by KAZ’s projects division which delivered the original project. It expects to tender contracts in 2018. After completion, Kaz anticipates sustaining capital expenditure to grow between USD50 million and USD60 million from the current USD30 million to USD40 million.

In total, KAZ said it expects to invest USD1.2 billion to double sulphide ore processing capacity from 25 million to 50 million tonnes per year. Some USD200 million of this is anticipated to be invested in 2018. The remaining expenditure will be spread across 2019 through to 2021.

“I am pleased to announce the planned expansion of our second major growth project, Aktogay, which will double its processing capacity from 2021,” KAZ Chief Executive Officer Oleg Novachuk said. “This expansion represents an opportunity for our proven project team to deliver a strong return on investment from an asset we know well by replicating the existing sulphide plant.

“Our outlook for copper remains positive and this development will help us to continue to grow in a tightening market”, Novachuk added. “The capital expenditure over the period to 2021 for the expansion will be supported by strong cash flows from our new, low cost operations at Bozshakol and Aktogay.”

Shares in KAZ were 1.4% higher at 811.50 pence on Thursday.