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MEI Online: Pyrometallurgy: Latest News: July 23rd 2002

:: Tsumeb Project Potential Confirmed  

ZincOx Resources plc, a world leader in the processing of zinc oxide deposits, has received the results of a technical study assessing the potential for the recovery of zinc and other metals from the Tsumeb slag project in Namibia. The study was undertaken by Korea Zinc, one of the worlds largest zinc producers and the leaders in the treatment of slag containing zinc. Their report, using Ausmelt technology, concludes that the slag may be processed to produce oxide fume in which zinc, lead, germanium, gallium and indium will be concentrated. This concentrate will then be sold for further refining.

The slag at Tsumeb accumulated as a result of lead smelting operations from 1963 to 1996. The total tonnage is reported to be 2.9 million tonnes. As metal grades reduced significantly in the latter years of the operation there exists the possibility to process higher grade material in the early years of a new operation.

Based on the Korea Zinc technology, the slag will be treated in series in two Ausmelt furnaces with overall operating of about US$50/t of slag. Zinc and germanium are the most valuable components of the fume and over the past six months there have been discussions with various companies that are processing this type of material to recover mainly zinc and germanium. These discussions indicate that, based on the zinc and germanium alone and using long term metal prices, a value of about US$ 1060/t of fume should be realisable. A major international supplier of furnace technology has recently developed new pyrometallurgical fuming equipment that is expected to increase the projects economics compared to utilising the Ausmelt technology. Testwork using this new method is currently underway and results are expected by October 2002. Over the coming months work will concentrate on the confirmation of reserves, the acquisition of a representative bulk sample and preliminary testwork on the new fuming equipment. This testwork will enable the new equipment to be compared with Ausmelt and the most attractive process will then be piloted at a large scale.




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