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Our-Business
Our Business

Sentinel


The Sentinel copper operation is 100% owned by Kalumbila Minerals Limited (KML), a First Quantum subsidiary. Sentinel is approximately 150 kilometres west of the town of Solwezi in North Western Province of Zambia.

In January 2010, First Quantum acquired 100% of Kiwara PLC (“Kiwara”). Kiwara’s main asset was a controlling interest in the Trident prospecting license area, which included the Kalumbila project copper deposit. The entire project was renamed the Trident project in 2010. The license area includes the Sentinel copper project (“Sentinel”).

In May 2012, the Company’s Board approved construction of Sentinel and development and construction commenced in the second half of 2012. Staged commissioning started in October 2014 and Sentinel was declared in commercial production on November 1, 2016.

Mining and Processing

Initial mine development commenced in 2013 to establish in-pit crushing and conveying infrastructure. Open pit mining is carried out using conventional methods, with electric face shovels and hydraulic excavators, and a fleet of 330 tonne and 240 tonne capacity haul trucks. Mining capacity will eventually extend to around 65 Mbcm of ore and waste mined per annum. The ultimate 5.4 km long, 1.5 km wide and 375 meter deep pit will be mined in stages, with ore crushed in-pit and conveyed overland to the process plant.

The processing plant design is based on a conventional sulphide ore flotation circuit designed to treat 55 million tonne per annum (“Mtpa”) of ore, with a separate 4 Mtpa circuit designed to process nickel ore feed from the Enterprise project or additional copper ore feed from Sentinel. The Sentinel ore is crushed in-pit and conveyed overland onto a crushed ore stockpile ahead of two milling trains, each comprising a SAG mill and a ball mill. Each train consists of two parallel banks of rougher flotation cells, each comprising seven cells operating in series. Three stages of cleaner flotation, as well as column flotation are operated in a common shared circuit. Final concentrate at a grade of approximately 24% copper was produced up to the end 2016.

Progressive processing modification has currently resulted in an average grade of 27% copper. This concentrate is thickened and filtered in a dedicated concentrate handling facility.

2016 Facts and Stats:

  • Copper production (tonnes): 139,600
  • Copper sales (tonnes): 115,782
  • Average copper grade: 0.6%
  • Type of mine: open pit
  • Current estimated mine life: 2033
  • Employees: 2,231
  • Contractors: 2,165

Outlook:

Production in 2017 is expected to be approximately 185,000 tonnes of copper.