Harsh environments, rising energy costs, and water scarcity are just a few of the challenges facing the world’s mines. Kalumbila Minerals was not only confronted by these challenges but also had more to grapple with when building two mines in an isolated area 150 kilometers west of Solwezi, Zambia.
The region had practically no infrastructure for transportation or energy supply, and no workforce with the skills to build one. The local population worked in farming and ranching and had no experience with large construction projects. But having committed to source at least half of its workers locally, Kalumbila Minerals needed to find and train at least 4,000 people to lay roads, weld pipes, erect pylons, and even construct a new airstrip. A further challenge was Kalumbila Minerals’ ambitious production targets: 300,000 tons of copper and 38,000 tons of nickel concentrate per year within the first six years of operation. Meeting this output target would demand advanced drive technology that could power all the mining machinery around the clock with minimal downtime.
To overcome the challenges and make the project a success, Kalumbila Minerals recognized the need for a partner that could offer a comprehensive solution for both training new workers and providing high-performance integrated drives. End-to-end process optimization was the only way the company could hope to overcome its production challenges while minimizing operational and extraction costs.
“For projects involving limited local skills and complex equipment, what we look for in a technology provider is a robust product and a skilled team with the ability to transfer knowledge to our local expert teams,” says Nevin Scagliotta, commissioning manager for First Quantum Minerals Projects Division. “With mills of this size, reliable and high-efficiency drives are top priority and crucial to project economics.”