WINDHOEK – Deep-South Resources says it is yet to start any mining of the Haib copper deposit in /Kharas Region, as the company is still planning a pre-feasibility study.
“The Haib copper project in the Kharas Region is not a mine but a mineral deposit at an advanced exploration stage. Furthermore, while Haib is the oldest copper porphyry deposit in Africa, it is not the largest copper deposit in Africa,” explained Pierre Léveillé, the president and CEO of Deep-South Resources Inc.
Léveillé said the Haib deposit is one of the 20th largest copper deposits in Africa, and that “Deep-South Resources is currently planning a pre-feasibility in order to estimate the technical and viability of a potential future commercial production of the deposit.”
According to a recently completed preliminary economic assessment the deposit has the potential to produce a net present value of N$9 billion and a pre-tax internal rate of return of 30.4 percent at US$3-per-pound copper.
The Haib deposit is on the mountains that edge the Orange River, eight kilometres from the river that demarcates the border with South Africa. Canadian-listed Deep-South Resources owns the claims to Haib Minerals with Teck Resources owning 35 percent. The company previously said that the expected mine life is 55 years when mined at the rate of 8.5 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa).
“The Haib deposit is the oldest porphyry deposit in the world, which hosts easily identifiable porphyry veins and alteration. It is part of the Richtersveld geological sub-province located within the Namaqua-Natal Province in the northern corner of South Africa,” the company had said.
The deposit, discovered in the 1950’s, has seen over 50,000 metres of drilling in the 1970’s by companies such as Rio Tinto and Falconbridge Ltd, the company said.
So far estimates are that the mineral reserves in the Haib deposit are 456.9 million tonnes (Mt) grading 0.31 percent copper. The inferred resources are estimated to be 342.4Mt grading 0.29 percent copper.
When it comes on stream the mine is set to be an open pit with the method of mining including drill and blast activities to mine the copper.
The ore will be processed using a bio-assisted heap leach method, which includes a three-stage crushing process to reduce to a size of 6mm or less and then placed on a leach pad. Bacteria mixed with sulphuric acid will be added to the leach pad to facilitate faster oxidation of the ore.
“The oxidised ore will produce copper loaded extractants, which will be stripped to produce copper sulphate solution. Electrowining will be used to separate copper from the copper sulphate solution,” the company said. Water for the operation is likely to be sourced from the Orange River through a 15-kilometre pipeline, and electricity sourced from an 85-kilometre link to the national power grid.