South Africa has about 2,1 % of the world’s known reserves of copper and accounts for 1 % of world production. Palabora Copper, situated in the Mpumalanga province is South Africa’s largest copper producer. Palabora Copper Mine is South Africa’s deepest and largest open cast mine. And it is one of the largest copper mines in the world. It’s sales represent 2.4% of South Africa’s total mineral output and accounts for 75% of the countries total copper output each year. Production of refined copper totalled 142 000 t in 2001 and 120,920 t in 2003.
Palabora Mining Company is currently owned by Rio Tinto (48%) and Anglo American (29%). Palabora is a massive opencast operation, one of the largest of its type in the world. It has a pit life at current production figures until 2002; thereafter underground mining will extend the life of the mine another 20 years. Palabora produced 78 400 t of copper in concentrate in 2001, down 33% from the previous year. Over the anticipated 20 year life of mine, the mine is expected to produce 1.4 Mt of copper. Palabora’s underground proven and probable reserves are estimated at containing 245 Mt grading at 0.7% copper. At the end of 2003 Palabora had spent US$409 million on converting to underground operations from open pit. Daily ore tonnage was 10 000 t against an expected 30 000 t.
Other major producers include the O’ Okiep copper mine, situated in the Northern Cape, near the town of Springbok. O’Okiep, previously owned by Gold Fields of South Africa is now owned by Metorex. O’Okiep was one of the first copper discoveries in South Africa and is facing depleted ore reserves. A total of 30 individual mines were worked by the company over its history. Studies assessing the viability of reprocessing slag dumps at the mine have been successful in extending the life of O’Okiep an additional eight years. It is hoped that Anglo American’s base metal projects located nearby at Gamsberg and Black Mountain will absorb some of the mining staff from O’Okiep. Metorex also operates the small underground Maranda Zn-Cu mine located close to Metorex’s Consolidated Murchison antimony mine. Maranda produces approximately 6 200t of copper in concentrate each year. Discovery of additional resources has extended the life of Maranda several times over the past few years.
Copper is also produced at the Anglo American owned Black Mountain polymetallic mine near Aggeneys in the Northern Cape. Copper is also produced as a by-product of the platinum mines situated on the Bushveld Igneous Complex.
The Balanced Scorecard Institute of South Africa, Anglo Base Metals, Copper Development Association, (Pty) Ltd, Letaba Copper & Zinc Corporation Ltd, Maranda Mining Company Pty Ltd, Metorex Limited, Nkomati Mine, O’Kiep Copper Company (Pty) Ltd, Palabora Mining Company Ltd, Prieska Copper Mines Ltd, Protero (Pty) Ltd, Rio Algom Limited, TCI Pacific Inc :[ Add More ]
Afrikaner Lease, Agnes, Alpha Anthracite, Amandelbult, Arnot Colliery, Arthur Taylor Colliery, Arthur Taylor Opencast Mine (ATCOM), Atok, Avontuur, Bafokeng North, Bafokeng Rasimone, Baken, Balgarthan Colliery, Bambanani, Bank, Bankfontein Opencast, Barbrook, Beatrix, Beeshoek, Bellsbank :[ View All ]
Palabora Mining Company Ltd
Rio Tinto Plc
Rio Tinto has a 46.5% interest in South Africa’s largest copper mine, Palaborwa, located in the Limpopo Province. Gold is also produced as a by product.