Copper is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable. It is used as a conductor of heat and electricity, a building material, and a constituent of various metal alloys.

Chalcopyrite - CuFeS2

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In 2010 the demand for refined copper is expected to range from 4,5 million tonnes to 4,7 million tonnes. In 2020, the total consumption is expected to range from 6,5 million tonnes to 6,9 million tonnes. From 2000 to 2014, China’s share of global copper consumption went to 43 percent from 12 percent. 
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RankCountryWorld Mine Production, By Country (Metric tons) in 2008
5United States801,000801000
6Russian Federation750,000750000
12Iran, Islamic Republic Of241,000241000
14Congo, The Democratic Republic Of The189,000189000
16Papua New Guinea159,650159650
19South Africa109,000109000
27Lao People's Democratic Republic24,92924929
33Korea, Democratic People's Republic Of12,00012000
40Tanzania, United Republic Of2,7002700
43Saudi Arabia1,2001200
Year of Estimate: 2008

Copper-cobalt mineralization at Tenke Fungurume, Congo ()Kinshasa)

Links to major companies mining copper

  • Codelco (State-owned) mines in Chile. Chile supplies about a third of the world's copper, with Codelco being the world's largest producer. Codelco will invest a record $2,2 billion in mine developments in 2007 and plans to start its new Gaby project in 2008, its first new mine in 10 years, increasing overall production by 150,000 tons a year of refined copper. Output fell to 1,68 million tons in 2006. The company hopes to boost output 19 percent early in the next decade to 2 million metric tons
  • BHPBilliton mines in Australia, Chile ( Escondida is the world's largest copper mine) and Peru. BHP Billiton expects that its recently launched Spence copper project in Chile will produce 180,000 tonnes of copper cathodes in 2007.
  • Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX) mines in the USA, Chile, Peru, Indonesia and, through Phelps Dodge, owns the rights to the Tenke Fungurume copper/cobalt project in the Congo (Kinshasa). Shareholders from both Phelps Dodge Corp. (PD) and FreePort-McMoRan voted in favour of a proposed merger at a special meeting on Wednesday, March 14, 2007. The tie-up, which was first announced in November 2006, will see FCX pay roughly US$26-billion in cash and stock to Phelps shareholders. It will also create the world’s largest publicly traded copper company. In 2006, 78% of Freeport’s revenue came from copper, 12% from molybdenum and 10% from gold. Freeport plans to boost output 18 percent by 2009.

The Grasberg mine is, in terms of reserves, the largest gold mine in the world and the third largest copper mine in the world. It is located in the province of Papua in Indonesia and is owned by Freeport-McMoRan (90.6%) in partnership with the government of Indonesia (9.4%).
Cu: 36.5 billion lbs
Au: 39.8 million ozs
Ag: 115 million ozs
Cu: 1.1 billion lbs
Au: 1.7 million ozs
Ag: 3.3 million ozs
Mine Life: 35 years

  • Glencore plc is the world’s fifth-largest mining group and the fourth-largest producer of copper. Its copper mining and processing operations span regional operating divisions in five countries; in north Queensland, Australia, north Chile, southern Peru, north west Argentina, and in Ontario and Québec in Canada. Xstrata Copper is evaluating and managing a portfolio of copper development projects including Las Bambas in Peru, El Morro in Chile, El Pachon in Argentina and Frieda River in Papua New Guinea. Xstrata Copper also exercised an option to acquire 62,5 percent of the Tampakan copper-gold project in the southern Mindanao region of the Philippines. The company produces over one million tonnes of copper per annum.

  • Phelps Dodge mines and has processing facilities in North and South America, Europe and China. It is the controlling shareholder of Tenke Mining Corporation in the Congo (Kinshasa)

  • Rio Tinto mines in the USA, Australia, Chile and South Africa (Palabora). Rio Tinto agreed in 2006 to invest $303 million in Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., a Canadian company that plans to mine copper in Mongolia. Other copper projects Rio Tinto has under study, include Resolution in the U.S., La Granja in Peru, and Pebble in Alaska. The Resolution project in Arizona may cost $2,5 billion to develop and mining is unlikely to start until 2015. The La Granja project won't start production till for at least seven years and the Pebble project is still in its early stages.
Copper mining and exploration in Africa

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  • CityView Corporation Ltd (ASX:CVI) confirmed in September, 2007, that mineralised copper zones exist within the Longonjo metals project in Angola.
    These assay results, drawn from selective channel sampling of all of the old exploration adits at the Catabola prospect, will be targeted during the current drilling program.
    CityView conducted channel sampling of 4 adits, representing approximately 230m of continuous sampling.
    The assay results were encouraging, with the best results coming from adit 2 which cross cuts the entire mineralised zone at Catabola.
    Sampling revealed an average of 84 m at 0.81 per cent copper in adit 2 within which exists a richer zone of 48.2 m at 1.21% copper with a peak of 4 m at 4.7% copper in one of the breccia zones.
    CityView is developing two projects in Angola, Longonjo and Ucua. The field program started at the end of April and will continue for seven months.
    The Longonjo licence covers an area of 3,764 square kilometres southwest of the city of Huambo in central Angola. The licence area lies within the Congo Craton, an Archaean basement which has been overlain by Proterozoic and Eocene sediments and intruded by a series of Proterozoic granites and Cretaceous ultramafic pipes.Work to date has revealed two prospects within the licence area. These have been named Longonjo Carbonatite and Catabola.
    Longonjo Carbonatite consists of an outer rim of altered granitoid around a series of central polymictic, carbonate rich breccias. The distribution of carbonatites in Angola is loosely related kimberlites and they are generally situated within the same NE-SW trend as the kimberlites. Longonjo carbonatite is known to be prospective for niobium, tantalum and uranium minerals in particular, as well as other minerals commonly associated with carbonatite complexes.
    Catabola is an IOCG (iron oxide copper-gold) occurrence situated in the southern part of the licence area. Copper and iron oxide mineralization has been identified over a 1.6km strike length, with copper minerals including azurite, malachite and chrysocolla constituting approximately 50% of the host rock.
    The Ucua licence covers an area of 1,358 square kilometres and hosts the Dande Pegmatite Complex. This complex is potentially an important source of beryllium, with studies conducted during the 1970’s indicating the potential for the occurrence of economic quantities of beryllium. 59 prospects have been identified in the Licence area and these will be examined in the current field season.

The Dukwe deposit is an epigenetic quartz-carbonate vein hosted copper deposit. The mineralization lies within a near-vertically dipping, thin, linearly extensive belt of the early Proterozoic Matsitama Supergroup metasedimentary rocks. They are enclosed by sheared granite-gneisses and granites of the Mosetse Complex within the broader structural domain of the Bushman lineament. The metasedimentary rocks and the enclosing granite-gneisses have been flattened, elongated and attenuated within the Bushman lineament shear zone.

The primary sulphide consists of chalcopyrite mineralization within a complex assemblage of quartz-calcite veins, breccias and carbonaceous calcareous sediments developed within a limestone horizon of the Matsitama Group sediments. The near surface parts of this zone have been enriched in a supergene blanket, while the parts closest to surface have been oxidized with the development of copper-carbonates and copper-oxide minerals.
  • African Copper plc (ACU.TO, AFNCF.PK) is developing a copper mine at the Dukwe Project scheduled to commence production in 2008. The flotation concentrator at Dukwe has been designed for a 3,000 tonne per day throughput to produce approximately 44 million pounds of copper in concentrate annually at full production. Initial production is expected to be from open pit, followed by underground mining of sulphides. Total indicted and inferred resources are 47,23 million tonnes at a grade of 1,55% Cu or 730, 867 tonnes of contained copper.
  • Discovery Metals Ltd (Australian) is exploring seven prospecting licences covering an area of 6,333 square kilometres in north-western Botswana., called the Maun Copper Project. The project area covers a large area of significant copper-silver mineralization within the Ghanzi Formation. Copper-silver mineralization has been previously traced for over 300km of strike. Located within the project area is the Zeta Inferred Copper Resource (20Mt @ 1.2% Cu), and other occurrences of copper mineralization at the G Grid North and P Grid prospects. The existing copper-silver mineralization grades from 0,5% to 9,2% copper with silver grades up to 150 g/t. Mineralization widths vary from 1 m to 23 m with the majority of intercepts in the range 7-15 m. The company said on 25 September, 2007, drilling at a 5.5 kilometre long zone of copper-silver mineralization at the project's Plutus prospect had confirmed that the highest grade mineralization occurs on the footwall/hanging wall contact with grades up to 2.6 percent copper being recorded, and these intersections plunge shallowly to the southwest. The programme has concentrated on defining the mineralisation able to be extracted in an open pit with the majority of drill holes less than 120 metre vertical depth, the company said.
    The Plutus prospect occurs five kilometres to the northeast of the Petra Inferred Mineral Resource where a series of historical diamond drill holes intersected 1.5 percent copper over a strike length of five kilometres and has an inferred mineral resource of 4.5 million tons at 1.1 percent copper at a 0.6 percent copper cut-off. Discovery has also started a regional exploration program on the Maun Copper Project to find new mineralisation outside the currently defined resources at Zeta, Plutus and Petra.
  • Hana Mining Ltd (TSX VENTURE:HMG) is drilling its Ghanzi Copper Project in northwestern Botswana. The program is proposed to include 10,000 meters of diamond drilling and will initially focus on twinning RC and diamond drill holes in the highly prospective H-I grid area of the property. The program will test both high-grade and lower-grade mineralized intercepts. he H-I grid area was the focus of much of the historical exploration completed at the Ghanzi property previously drilled by Delta Gold in joint venture with BHP Billiton in 1999 and Anglo American Corp. in the early 1990s.
Burkina Faso
  • Goldcrest Resources Ltd (Canadian, GCL.V} is exploring the Gaoua copper-gold project in Burkina Faso. The drilling of the Gaoua Cu-Au prospect is being executed under an option agreement that the company signed with Phelps Dodge Exploration Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. Most of the breccia-hosted mineralization consists of hypogene chalcopyrite with which gold values appear to be closely correlated.
Congo (Brazzaville)

  • Sanu Resources Ltd (TSX VENTURE:SNU) announced that it has recently acquired a non-exclusive Prospecting License covering 3,595 sq km in the Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville). The Prospecting License may be converted to an exclusive Exploration License following submission of a prospecting report detailing the work done. The license lies on strike with the Mindouli-M'fouati copper/zinc/lead mining district and contains several prospects with outcropping mineralization. Mineralization in the Mindouli-M'fouati district consists of a cluster of high grade copper-zinc-lead bodies hosted in carbonate rocks. An example is Yanga-Koubanza with a reported historical (not NI 43-101 compliant) inferred resource of 5Mt at 1.95% Cu, 7% Zn, 6% Pb. The company believes that the area has significant potential for additional discoveries of high grade carbonate hosted mineralization. The project area has reasonable infrastructure near the Brazzaville-Pointe Noire railway. Exploration activities planned for early 2008 will consist of a regional soil sampling program over prospective stratigraphy followed by ground geophysics. The objective will be to generate drill targets for testing later in the year.
Congo (Kinshasa)

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For over 70 years, the Katanga Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been an important producer of copper and cobalt to the world markets. In the 1980s, the country’s copper output amounted to around seven per cent of global production.
Since the early 1990s, the unstable social and political environment in the country has led to a gradual decline in production. Without ongoing maintenance, the condition of most of the facilities has deteriorated and production has declined to virtually zero.
Following independence from Belgium, the mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo were nationalised in 1967 and became owned by Gécamines (La Générale des Carrières et des Mines), a state owned mining company.
  • Tenke Mining Corporation (Canadian) has completed a feasibility study for the first phase of production at the Tenke Fungurume copper/cobalt project in Katanga Province. Facilities have been designed to initially produce approximately 115,000 metric tonnes per annum of London Grade A quality copper cathode and 8,000 tpa of cobalt in any combination of cobalt metal or intermediate cobalt hydroxide. Freeport-McMoran, who now controls operations, announced in May 2007, that the mine is to start up in October 2008 and would ship copper first. Shipment of cobalt hydroxide, an intermediary product, would begin in December 2008. Tenkwe is owned 24,75% by Tenke Mining Corp, 57,75% by Freeport through Phelps Dodge Corporation ("Phelps Dodge") and 17,5% by Gecamines, the DRC State mining company. Lundin Mining Corporation (LUN.TO, AMEX:LMC) and Tenke Mining Corp. announced on 10 April 2007 that they have entered into a definitive agreement to combine the two companies to form an intermediate base metals company. The 40-year mine plan is based on first developing the Kwatebala, Fwaulu and Goma deposits. Proven/probable ore reserves developed by Phelps Dodge to U.S. SEC standards for these three areas are 103 million metric tonnes, grading 2,1% copper and 0,3% cobalt (proven 22 million tonnes grading 2,2% copper and 0,30% cobalt, probable 81 million tonnes grading 2,1% copper and 0,31% cobalt). During 2006, approximately 16,000 meters of drilling was performed under the direction of Phelps Dodge for infilling, reserve confirmation, step-out exploration and condemnation. During the 2006 drilling program, mineralization in three new areas just west of Kwatebala was discovered (Mwinansefu, Ditoma and Shinkusu). Concession exploration for 2007, which includes further resource definition drilling at these new areas, is budgeted to accomplish approximately 45,000 meters of drilling. The intent is to have significant additional proven/probable ore reserves defined by the time the initial facilities go into operation to support potential expansions in the early years of initial operations. In accordance with Canadian National Instrument 43-101 standards, the Measured and Indicated Resources for the Tenke Fungurume concessions are 235 million tonnes of 3,01% copper and 0,31% cobalt (Measured 126 million tonnes grading 3,44% copper and 0,33% cobalt and Indicated 109 million tonnes grading 2,52% copper and 0,28% cobalt), with Inferred resources providing an additional 265 million tonnes of 2,6% copper and 0,19% cobalt.
  • Nikanor plc, through the company’s joint venture agreement with Gécamines, owns mining permits for three open-pit mines in the DRC: KOV, Tilwezembe and Kananga. The company plans to redevelop these mines, bringing Tilwezembe and Kananga into production in the second half of 2006 and the second half of 2007 respectively, and KOV, the company’s principal asset, by the end of 2009. The KOV mine consists of 4 ore bodies: Kamoto, Oliveira, Virgule, FNSR. It was mined from 1960 to 2000 and 38 million tonnes of ore were mined at an average grade of 5,8% Cu. The resource estimate is 172 million tonnes of ore averaging 5,1% Cu and 0,5% cobalt; theestimated contained metal at 9 million tonnes copper, 800,000 tonnes cobalt. Planned estimated mine life is 30 years. The Kolwezi concentrator is currently processing ore from both Kananga and Tilwezembe. Resources are estimated for Tilwezembe: 5,7 million tonnes (indicated) at 5% copper, 1.0% cobalt, and for Kananga: 6,9 million tonnes (inferred) at 1% copper, 1,3% cobalt. Drilling to increase resources are taking place.
  • Anvil Mining Ltd (AVM.TO, AVLMF.PK) has one high-grade copper-silver open pit mine that has been in production since 2002, a high grade copper tailings retreatment operation that entered production in late 2005, and an advanced copper-cobalt project currently under evaluation. The Dikulushi mine, Lake Mweru, Katanga Province, has a resource (Dec 2004) of 2,44 million tonnes of ore averaging 7,9% copper and 208 g/t silver. Production in 2005 amounted to 17,816 tonnes copper, 1,7 million ounces silver at an operating cash cost of $0.42/lb Cu. The Mutoshi project includes the Kulu copper tailings mine and the Mutoshi copper-cobalt mine in the Kolwezi region. The estimated resource amounts to 255,000 tonnes of contained copper. In 2005,16,500 tonnes of copper were recovered. At the Kinsevere, Tshifufia, Tshifufiamashi projects, 50 km north of Lubumbashi, estimated resources are 1,582,000 tonnes of contained copper from ore averaging 3,8% copper. The company is also exploring prospects at Lungeshi and Kapulo. Anvil Mining forecast a 10 percent increase in 2008 copper production but a big drop for silver on Wednesday, as it announced record 2007 production from its three mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Toronto-listed miner expects to produce more than 55,000 tonnes of copper and 1.3 million oz of silver in 2008. That compares with 47,633 tonnes of copper and 2.45 million oz of silver in 2007. Anvil operates and has majority stakes in the Dikulushi copper-silver mine, Kinsevere copper mine, and Kulu copper tailings operation.
  • International Barytex Resources Ltd (Canadian) holds an option to earn a 65% interest in the Shituru high grade copper-cobalt deposit located at Likasi, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Shituru deposit is expected to support a high grade open pit mine with low operating cost and has untested underground potential. Barytex has an option to acquire up to an 86,67% interest in stages in East China Capital Investments Ltd. (ECCI) whose sole asset is an option to acquire a 75% share interest in the Shituru Copper-Cobalt deposit from Generale Des Carrieres et des Mines ("Gecamines"). When fully exercised the interests in the Shituru Property will be indirectly held as follows: 65% by Barytex, 25%, by Gecamines and 10% by the Optionors, Ever Noble Group Ltd. and Megatrend International Holdings Ltd (ENG-MIH). The zone of mineralization is approximately 800 m in strike length with widths of 17 meters for each of the zones exposed at surface.
  • Katanga Mining Ltd , in a joint venture with the Congolese state-owned mining company, Gécamines, is rehabilitating a major copper-cobalt mine at Kolwezi in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Production at the high-grade Kamoto Mine will begin in late 2007. Once fully operational, it will produce 150,000 tonnes of copper and 5,000 tonnes of cobalt a year at one of the world’s lowest operating costs. The Kamoto mine complex was one of the most productive parts of its operations. The Kamoto underground mine began operation in 1969. It produced an average of three million tonnes of ore a year during the 1980s and to date has produced 59,3 million tonnes of ore, with an average copper content of 4,21 per cent and an average cobalt content of 0,37 per cent. The open pit mines, Dikuluwe, Mashamba East and Mashamba West (together known as DIMA) began operation in 1975, 1984 and 1978 respectively. To date, 57,7 million tonnes of ore has been produced with an average copper content of 4,96 per cent and an average cobalt content of 0,16 per cent. At the peak of production in 1986, a total of 5,5 million tonnes was mined from these pits. By 1998, due to lack of funds, the pits were allowed to flood. No significant production has so far come from the Musonoie-T17 open pit mine. Central African Mining & Exploration Company plc obtained a 11,37% shareholding in Katanga Mining which was increased to 22% by a further purchase of shares on 4 May 2007. Katanga Mining has raised $150m towards its project in the Democratic Republic of Congo in a transaction that has a ten-year offtake agreement.
    The one-year loan from Glencore is at an interest rate of LIBOR plus four percent. Glencore can convert to loan into 9.16 million Katanga shares. Katanga has 78 million shares in issue.
    Glencore will buy 100% of Katanga's copper and cobalt output for a decade at market terms.
  • Katanga Mining's DRC/China copper/cobalt conundrum (Source: Mineweb)
  • Katanga agrees to sell DRC deposits to govt for $825m (Source: Mining Weekly)
  • DRC/Chinese/Katanga Mining copper/cobalt deal explained (Source: Mineweb)
  • Central African Mining & Exploration Company plc, who owns a copper and cobalt processing facility at Luita, Katanga Province, is exploring the C19, C21 concession areas, using existing data obtained from Gecamines and Union Miniere, with an indicated total resource of 1,5 million tonnes of copper and 500,000 tonnes of cobalt, contained in 70 million tonnes of ore. Camec built up a 22 per cent stake in Katanga Mining. It has also secured soft irrevocables for a further 54 per cent, including the 24 per cent stake held by George Forrest, the largest shareholder in Katanga and one of the powerbrokers in the DRC's mining industry. In August, 2007, Camec was about to make an £800m offer for Katanga Mining. Organic growth alone will enable Camec to produce some 100,000 tonnes of copper and between 6,000-12,000 tonnes of cobalt by the end of 2008. But by taking over Katanga, the company could be producing as much as 250,000 tonnes of copper, according to the company. The justice ministry released a statement at the end of August, 2007, detailing the revocation of the licences. It said C19 has reverted to state-owned miner Gecamines. Camec withdrew its bid for Katanga.
    Camec said in an overview of the company its Luita metallurgical plant in DRC would be supplied by concessions C19 and C21 and would produce at an annualised rate of 40,000 tonnes of copper and 6,000 tonnes of cobalt by March, 2008. However, the licences to these two concessions are amongst those revoked by the government. C19 is the most important to Camec. Central African Mining and Exploration plans to re-start production at what it says is the world's largest cobalt deposit Mukondo with its joint venture partner Prairie International at the beginning of 2008 to supply the market with 6,000 t of cobalt in 2008. The Mukondo deposit contains 350,000 t of cobalt, of which 250,000 t would be recovered over a period of 15 years.
  • "Camec selling the family silver through lack of copper and cobalt" (Source: Mineweb)
  • ' Camec doubles stake in CRC '
  • Mwana Africa plc purchased Anmercosa Exploration (Congo) s.p.r.l. from Anglo American plc in early 2004. Anmercosa has mining exploration rights over approximately 10,000 square kilometres in the Katanga copper belt, which has showings of copper, zinc, cobalt and gold. As part of the purchase arrangements, Mwana Africa entered into a joint venture with Anglo American in respect of these mining exploration rights. Under the joint venture, Anmercosa is responsible for all feasibility study and other costs, and Anglo American has a carried interest in the joint venture. Anglo American may increase its stake in the joint venture if particular metal or mineral concentration is discovered, and will fund those discoveries to bankable feasibility study. Mwana Africa is also currently in negotiations with Gecamines, the DRC state copper mining company, relating to a previously worked copper/cobalt mine near Anmercosa’s exploration ground in Katanga. Production of copper/cobalt could begin soon after the finalisation of the agreement with Gecamines.
  • Africo Resources Ltd (Canadian, ARL.TO) is developing the Kalukundi Project located within the Kolwezi District of Katanga Province in the south-east of the DRC. The Kalukundi deposit has been defined through the evaluation of 4 fragments of Mines series rocks. An ore reserve of oxide materials has been defined within these 4 fragments of 7,8 million tonnes grading 2,44% Cu and 0,69% Co. The economics of the deposit are based on a production rate of 800,000 tonnes per year for nominal annual production of 16,400 tonnes per year copper and 3,800 tonnes per year cobalt.
  • Metorex reached an agreement with the Government of the DRC, La Generale et des Mines [“Gecamines”], and Sentinelle Global Investments (Pty) Ltd [“Sentinelle”] to mine and treat the high grade copper/cobalt orebody at Ruashi, and the Ruashi and Etoile stockpiles situated in the Katanga Province of the DRC in May 2004. Probable mineral reserves are 24,120,000 at a grade of 3,78% Cu and 0,79% Co. Planned eventual production is 45,000 tonnes of copper and 3,500 tonnes of cobalt per annum. Metorex increased its effective interest in the two-phase Ruashi project to 80% from 67.2% by buying out the private Sentinelle for R60m in cash and the issue of 12.5m shares at R21.35 each in March, 2007. State-owned Gecamines owns the other 20% of Ruashi. The company announced in July, 2007, that it had acquired 38.7% of Copper Resources Corporation (CRC) and a 5% stake in Miniere De Musoshi Et Kinsenda Sarl (MMK), a 75% owned subsidiary of CRC, for £42.85m, about R600m. CRC holds a 75% interest in MMK which owns the Kinsenda, Musoshi and Lubembe copper deposits as well as various exploration permits in the southern portion of the Katanga Province of the DRC. Metorex is also drilling the Musonoi copper deposit, close to the two deposits the group is mining at Kolwezi.
  • First Quantum Minerals Ltd acquired 100% of Adastra. Adastra was a listed international mining company with its principal asset being the Kolwezi Copper-Cobalt Tailings Project in the DRC. Due to the poor recoveries obtained from the conventional concentrating techniques used, valuable amounts of copper and cobalt were discharged into two tailings dams known as Kingamyambo and Musonoi. The two dams contain 112,8 million t of oxide tailings grading a remarkable 1,49 % copper and 0,32 % cobalt. The company is considering the construction of an initial 35,000 tonne per year copper facility and 5,800 tonne per year cobalt facility which would be designed to be expanded to 105,000 tonnes of copper per year and 17,400 tonnes of cobalt per year.
The huge Kingamyambo tailings dam (above) is a smaller resource than the Musonoi tailings dam.
Source: Adastra
First Quantum is also developing the Frontier deposit, near the town of Sakania in the DRC, within 2 km of the Zambian border. The estimated resource is 161 million tonnes grading 1.17% copper (0.5% Cu cut-off) or 1.9 million tonnes of copper.
  • Ivanhoe Nickel and Platinum Ltd. (Ivanplats), controlled by Robert Friedland of Ivanhoe Mines, has rights to about 20,000 square kilometres and, besides the copper and cobalt at the Kalongwe copper-cobalt project 10 kilometres north of Tenke Fugurume, also plans to develop the Kengere project, near the town of Kolwezi, which holds zinc, lead, silver and germanium. Investment banking sources expect an initial public offering of Ivanplats shares in 2007 with a dual listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange and in London.
  • TEAL Exploration & Mining Incorporated (Canadian, TSX:TL; JSE:TEL) is exploring the Kalumines Copper-Cobalt Project, a joint venture with La Générale des Carrières et des Mines ("Gécamines"), which comprises approximately 77 square kilometres. The project area hosts four near surface areas of copper mineralization that the Company believes may be exploitable using open-pit mining techniques. Drilling, trenching and pitting were undertaken by previous owners and copper and cobalt mineralization was identified over a strike length in excess of 3 kilometres. The Company has agreed with Gécamines to conduct a drilling program to define the resource and to complete a feasibility study on the project by May 2007. TEAL announced in November, 2007, that its planned mining rate at the Lupoto Copper Project, which forms part of the Kalumines property was achieved in September, 2007. TEAL could also begin producing 12,000 tonnes of copper in early 2008 at the company's 70-percent owned Mwambashi copper project. TEAL Exploration & Mining said in February, 2008, that it had discovered copper and cobalt mineralisation in the Karu East block some 5 km SSE of the Lupoto Copper Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Some of the drilling highlights include: 21 metres grading 2.57% copper; 39 metres grading 3.25% copper, including 15 metres at 0.46% cobalt; and 16 metres grading 0.33% cobalt, it said.
  • El Nino Ventures Inc (Canadian, ELNOF.OB, ELN.V) announced in May, 2007, that it had acquired a 70 percent interest in a Joint Venture Agreement with GCP Group Ltd, a private Congolese company. El Nino holds it's initial 70 percent interest in Research Permits No. 5214, 5215, 5216 and 5217. These permits were granted by the Cadastre Miner of the DRC and cover 352 square kilometers in the DRC-Zambian Copperbelt. The permits are located between Lubumbashi and Likasi.
  • Gecamines will contribute 10 million metric tonnes of copper deposits to a $6bn joint venture with two Chinese companies. he company will also contribute half a million tonnes of cobalt to a partnership that has been agreed with Sinohydro Corporation and China Railway Engineering Corporation. The two Chinese entities will own a 68% stake in the venture. Under the deal deal signed in January, 2008, by China's Exim Bank and the Kinshasa government, Congolese state miner Gecamines, China's Sinohydro Corp and China Railway Engineering Corp will create a joint mining venture with rights to two mining concessions.
    Together the Mashamba and Dikuluwe mines contain 10 million tonnes of copper and 2 million tonnes of cobalt, he said.
    The Chinese investment would be repaid with revenues from the joint venture, called Sicomines.
  • Katanga Mining's DRC/China copper/cobalt conundrum (Source: Mineweb)



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  • Odyssey Resources Ltd (TSXv: ODX) is exploring the Alous copper-silver property consisting of 34 licenses; 16 staked directly and 100% Odyssey owned, and 18 acquired from the Moroccan government. It covers 6 known copper-silver deposits wih an total resource of 7,993,000 tonnes of which 5,407,000 tonnes are in the Indicated category with an average grade of 0,78% Cu containing 95,2 million pounds of copper, and 2,586,000 tonnes are in the Inferred category with an average grade of 0.54% Cu containing 31,1 million pounds of copper.

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  • Weatherly International plc operates the Tsumeb West, Tschudi, Otjihase and Matchless mines as well as the Tsumeb custom smelter. The company has a current resource base of 690,000 tonnes of contained copper (JORC) and is targeting 20,000 tonnes of copper on an annualised basis in 2008 from its own mining operations.


  • Geneva Resources Inc reported in May, 2007, that Allied Minerals had been issued licenses from the Central Government of Nigeria to explore and mine the lease areas defined as Lease 1511 and Lease 1513 in Gimbi, Mavo and Jawando in the Wase Local Government Plateau State of Nigeria. The lease areas have known copper occurrences. The company had previously entered into a Letter Of Intent with Allied Minerals of Lagos, Nigeria, to acquire a majority interest in two large mineral exploration properties owned by Allied.
South Africa

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The Palabora mine's open cast pit measures almost 2000 metres across, making it the largest man-made hole in Africa
Source: European Space Agency
  • Rio Tintooperates the Palabora mine (Rio Tinto 57%, Anglo American 17%) which produced 59,700 tonnes of copper in concentrate from its own operations during 2006. Its refinery produced 81,200 tonnes of copper cathode after buying in additional copper concentrates from third party suppliers. Palabora operated as an open-pit mine for some 30 years. It converted to an underground, block-caving operation from the end of the 1990’s and established full underground operations from October 2004.
  • Vangold Resources Ltd (Canadian, VNGRF.PK, VAN.V) licenses are located in the former Kilembe Mine concession area (previously owned by Falconbridge Ltd.) which was mined between 1956 and 1977. The mine produced over 16,000,000 tonnes of ore grading 1,98% copper and 0,17% cobalt. Bukangama East in the Kilembe lease has over 2 million t of reserves grading 1.59% Cu.

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Zambia produced about 500 000 tonnes of copper in 2006, but with the revival of the industry and new discoveries it is expected that production will double by 2011.

  • Konkola Copper Mines plc (KCM) is the largest mining and metals company in Zambia with annual capacity of 200,000 metric tonnes of copper. KCM is a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources plc, a London listed metals and mining group.
    It operates the following mines:
    Nchanga Open Pit
    Nchanga Underground
    Konkola Underground
    Nampundwe Pyrite Mine
  • Equinox Minerals Ltd owns the Lumwana copper mine in north-western Zambia. Measured and Indicated Reserves presently total 321 million tonnes averaging 0,73% copper (5,97 billion pounds of contained copper) with additional Inferred Resources totalling 417 million tonnes averaging 0,6% copper (over 7,8 billion pounds of contained copper).The Lumwana mine will produce an average of 169,000 tonnes of cathode copper per year for the first six years of its 37-year mine life and construction was on schedule for commissioning in the second quarter of 2008. Potential by-products include gold, cobalt, uranium and sulphuric acid. China's Chambishi copper smelter in Zambia has agreed to process 230,000 tonnes of copper concentrate per year (55% 0f planned output) from Lumwana Copper Mines under a new five-year deal. The Chambishi smelter is a new Zambian partnership between China Nonferrous Metal Mining (Group) Co. Ltd. (CNMC), which owns 60 percent of the shares, and Yunnan Copper Industry (Group) Co. Ltd (YNCIG), which holds the remainder. Construction of the Chambishi smelter commenced in December 2006. The smelter is expected to begin production in late 2008 and will be producing 150,000 tonnes of copper cathode per year.
  • Glencore International AG (73,1%), with shareholders First Quantum Minerals (16,9%) and ZCCM (10%), operates the underground Mopani Copper Mines at Mufulira and Kitwe. Copper output was 180,0000 t in 2005 and the estimated mine life is 20 years. Mopani Copper Mines also operates the Nkana mine and Mufulira smelter, which has capacity to produce 850,000 tonnes of copper per year.
  • First Quantum Minerals Ltd (Canadian, FM.TO) operates the Kansanshi Cu-Au mine, 15 kilometres north of Solwezi, North Western Province with an estimated resource of 433 million tonnes grading 1.16% copper and 0.16 g/t gold (0.5% Cu cut-off); the Lonshi open pit mine at Ndola with a resource of 3.5 million tonnes grading 5.77% acid soluble copper or 199,837 tonnes copper and has a 16,9% interest in Mopani Copper Mines.
  • The Industrial Development Corporation (South African), together with Metorex (35%) owns and operates the Chibuluma South mine. Metorex produces 13,000 tonnes/year of contained copper from the Chibuluma plant in Zambia. It is also building a processing complex in central Zambia that will produce 100,000 tonnes/month of A-grade copper cathode from third parties and its Ruashi mine in the Congo. A zinc SX/EW plant is also being developed at Sable.
  • Zambezi Resources Limited and Glencore International AG have completed a joint venture agreement for the exploration and development of the Cheowa and Chongwe copper projects in southern Zambia. Glencore can earn 51% by spending US$10 million on exploration, with a minimum commitment of US$4 million. An Inferred Resource estimate of 1,7 million t at 1, 5% copper and 0,5 g/t gold reported above a 0.5% copper cutoff on one of 23 VTEM geophysical targets identified within the Cheowa Project area, has been reported. The mineralization is associated with a shear-hosted breccia zone, dominated by chalcopyrite-pyrrhotite-pyrite.
  • African Eagle Resources plc is exploring and developing the Mkushi project in joint venture with CGA Mining Limited. The inferred resource to date is 7,1 million t at a grade of 0,90% Cu. In February, 2008, drilling was still under way, but the then interim resource estimate of 10,7-million tons at 1,11% copper was used for the prefeasibility study. The Ndola Project covers 428 square kilometres in the southern part of the Central African Copperbelt. African Eagle's licence surrounds the historic Bwana Mkubwa Mine and lies midway between First Quantum Minerals' Frontier and Lonshi Mines. Past explorers reported a deposit in the northwest of the licence, estimated to contain 40 million t at 0,75% copper (not JORC compliant). Phelps Dodge, through a subsidiary, holds an option to earn-in to the Ndola project and is financing African Eagle's current £1 million exploration program. At the Eagle Eye Project in southeast Zambia, African Eagle has discovered a iron-oxide-copper-gold (IOCG) mineralized system, with a strike extent of 25km or more. Drilling has revealed potentially economic grades and thicknesses in several places and exploration is continuing. African Eagle has also regained sole rights to the Lunga Project in central Zambia by agreement with its former exploration partner, MinEx Projects (Pty) Ltd. The Lunga licence area is composed of rocks of the Katangan System which are similar in age to those of the Copperbelt. African Eagle and its former partners have completed geochemical and airborne geophysical surveys which have identified two main copper-gold prospects within the licence: the historic Buffalo mine in the north and the Karenda Dome in the south. There is also potential for calcrete-hosted uranium near the centre of the project area. African Eagle Resources was awarded the Mokambo South Prospecting Licence with an indicated deposit of about 6 million tonnes with some 140,000 tonnes of contained metal, in September, 2007. Based on drilling conducted in the 1960s and 1970s, Mokambo South was estimated to contain about six-million tons at 2,3% copper and Mokambo North was estimated to contain at least 3,8-millon tons at 1,69% copper in two separate lenses. African Eagle said that these unclassified historical estimates referred to sulphide mineralisation only, as oxide copper mineralisation was of little interest at that time.
  • TEAL Exploration & Mining Incorporated is conducting a feasibility study at its wholly-owned Konkola North copper project in Zambia. Teal Exploration & Mining said in February, 2008, it may go forward with a copper mine project at Konkola in Zambia in the next few weeks. It plans to establish a $160 million 25,000-ton-a-year mine.
    Teal aims to increase annual copper output to 65,000 metric tons by 2012 from an estimated 8,500 tons in 2008. That includes a possible expansion at its Lupoto mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo at a cost of about $240 million.
  • Caledonia Mining Corporation holds 5 contiguous licences covering an area of 806 square kilometres on the northern extension of the Zambian Copperbelt which host low grade cobalt / copper mineralization. The Konkola West licence covers the southern and western portions of the Konkola Dome and the presence of the ore shale horizon which hosts the Konkola Deep and Musoshi (Democaratic Republic of Congo) deposits on the northern and eastern sides of the Dome, has been identified within the licence area.
    It also holds three exploration licences at Kadola covering an area of 5,665 square kilometres of the southern extension of the Zambian Copperbelt. Caledonia is holding discussions with potential joint venture partners for the exploration of the copper/cobalt potential of Konkola and Kadola.
  • ICS Copper Systems Ltd is exploring the Mokambo property with a historical resource of 24 million tonnes grading between 1,47% and 1,72% Cu. ICS holds an option agreement to acquire up to 80% of the Mokambo Property which is situated 14 km from the city of Mufulira. Plant construction at Mokambo could start by May, 2008, with first production anticipated by the end of 2008.

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