Tsumeb Concentrator to Resume Operations Next Month

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WINDHOEK Weatherly International announced plans for the early restart of its concentrator at Tsumeb to take full advantage of current copper prices. The Tsumeb concentrator, one of three feeding the company’s smelter at Tsumeb, is expected to resume operations in May 2007, ahead of the June target date. A production update statement issued on the company’s website on Tuesday indicated that it will be fed by two mines in the Tsumeb area, initially Tsumeb West that has been stockpiling ore for the past month, followed by Tschudi, which is nearing production. Until now, Weatherly’s copper production has been only from the Otjihase and Matchless Mines, both located in the Windhoek area. Commencement of operations at Tsumeb will be the first major step towards raising copper output above existing levels. Work is also continuing at Weatherly’s Kombat West mine, where the company is de-watering the underground workings, which have been flooded since November 2005. Progress has been slower than anticipated, and a return to production is now expected by the end of 2007. By this time, a significant resource base would have been established. This will be the final step in achieving the company’s stated target of 20ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 tonnes of copper per annum from its own mines, now expected by the end of 2007. Drilling of surface resources east of the Kombat West shaft continues. The objective is to delineate sufficient resources to underpin a major open pit operation, which would be in addition to the commencement of the underground operations referred to above. Copper blister production from the Tsumeb smelter continues at full capacity, with Weatherly’s own mine production being supplemented by concentrates imported from Zambia, Mauritania, and more recently Bulgaria.