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Kasese produces cobalt.

Kasese Cobalt Co. Ltd. (KCCL) is processing the pyrite stockpiles at the old Kilembe copper mine located in the foothills of the Ruweozori mountains in southwestern Uganda, following the completion of this $120 million project. Normandy Mining holds a 63% interest in Kasese, through Banff Resources, of which KCCL is a subsidiary.

Bateman provided the design, engineering, procurement and construction management for the project. This included the process design package for cobalt electrowinning as well as the detailed design and construction of the process plant and utilities, infrastructure and tailings dams. Material is washed from the stockpile by monitors and is then pumped to the unique processing plant. The process involves bacterial leaching of the pyrite, neutralisation with limestone to remove acid and iron, removal of copper and nickel as saleable hydroxides, and the purification and recovery of cobalt by solvent extraction and electrowinning of cobalt.

Besides being a commercial proposition for KCCL and providing a much-needed financial injection into the local region, the project will have a beneficial impact on the local environment. The treatment of the stock-pile will leave a residue safely contained in specially designed dams. The stockpile had been causing problems of late because partial erosion and acid run off were causing widespread damage to the surroundings.

The pyrite stockpile contains 1.4% Co and the plant has the capacity is to treat 10 t/h from the stockpile. Thus, KCCL expects to produce 1,000 t/y of cobalt over 11 years.

Initial production from Kasese was achieved during the September quarter of 1999, as the processing plant reached 40% of its design capacity. Output totalled 88,000 lb of cobalt, at purity levels of 99.4-99.6%.

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Publication:Mining Magazine
Geographic Code:6UGAN
Date:Jan 1, 2000
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