Kombat copper project is an open pit mine located in the Grootfontein district in Namibia. Trigon Metals is the owner and developer of the copper project.

The mine was under production between 1962 and 2008, when mining operations were closed due to low copper prices and underground flooding. Trigon Metals gained ownership of the mine in 2012 through the acquisition of Manila Investments, which had 100% ownership of the mine. Manila Investments now operates as a subsidiary of Trigon Metals.

The feasibility study for the project was completed in April 2018 and the report was released in June 2018. The project is being developed at a capital cost of £4.9m ($6.4m).

The Kombat mine is expected to produce 10.7 million lbs of copper by 2020 over a mine life of more than two years.

Kombat copper project location, geology and mineralisation

The Kombat copper project is situated north of the Kombat mining town in the Grootfontein district in Otjozondjupa region of Namibia. The project site lies approximately 37km to the east of the Otavi town and 45km to the west of the Grootfontein city.

The ore deposits at the mine are hosted by dolostone of the Huttenberg formation, which is overlain by the Mulden Group. The Tschudi and Kombat formations are part of the Mulden Group.

The Tschudi formation comprises basal conglomerate, a feldspathic arenite containing intraformational breccias and greywacke. The Kombat formation is covered by the Tschudi formation and is made of a sequence of siltstone, shale and sandstone. The formation was transformed to form slate at some areas of the mine.

Ore reserves at Kombat copper project

The probable ore reserves at Kombat copper project are 0.77Mt with copper (Cu) graded at 1.3% containing 9,985t of copper.

Mining and ore processing at Kombat copper project

The conventional open pit mining method comprising of blasting and excavation will be used at the Kombat copper project. The mining equipment will comprise of excavators, dump trucks, haul trucks, and dozers.

The excavated blasted material will be loaded onto artificial dump trucks (ADTs) and transported to the processing plant, which has a capacity of 35 kilo tonnes per month (ktpm). The run of the mine (ROM) material will be stockpiled and fed into the processing plant through front end loaders. It will undergo primary crushing followed by screening at the secondary crushing circuit.

The screened ore is sent to the milling circuit where it will undergo regrinding. The final slurry will be sent to the flotation circuit comprising of scavengers, roughers, cleaners and recleaner circuits to produce copper concentrate with a grade of 22% Cu. The final flotation concentrate will be sent to two 40ft thickeners, which will act as a buffer for filter press.

The concentrate will be filtered at the filter press and the resultant filter cake will be discharged into trucks and transported to end customers.

Financing and off-take agreements

Trigon Metals and its subsidiary, Manila Investments, signed an agreement with an undisclosed international trading house in October 2017 for the off-take of 100% of production from the Kombat copper project.

The agreement also included the provision of a financing facility of up to $7.7m (£5.83m) to be used towards restarting the open pit operations.

Infrastructure details

The Kombat East and Central operation of the Kombat copper project can be accessed via the B8 regional paved road, through an exclusive access road.

A total installed power of 3.2MW will be required to run the 35ktpm plant, which will be sourced from the NamPower grid.

The water for the project will be sourced from the No.1 Shaft at the Kombat complex.

Contractors involved

The technical report for the project was prepared by Minxcon, an advisory company specialising in geological modelling, mineral resource estimation and financial evaluation.

In March 2019, Trigon signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Shandong Xinhai Mining Technology & Equipment, a China-based company specialising in mine operation and mineral processing, under which the latter will invest in the former and in exchange serve as the engineering procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the open pit mining operations at the Kombat copper project.