Northern Cape Province, South Africa
Kolomela mine is one of Anglo American’s Big Four expansion projects alongside Barro Alto in Brazil (nickel), Minas Rio in Brazil (ferrous) and Los Bronces in Chile (copper).
The mine is situated in the town of Postmasburg in the Northern Cape Province, South Africa. The name Kolomela means “to dig deeper or further”, or “to persevere”, and the excellent physical strength of Kolomela mine’s lump ore will enable Kumba to continue to meet its customers’ needs.
Kolomela mine is operated by the Anglo American group company Kumba Iron Ore through its subsidiary Sishen Iron Ore Company (SIOC). SIOC is owned 73.9% by Kumba and 26.1% by Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) shareholders.
The project was completed on time, on budget, with Zero Harm at the end of 2011. Production began during the first half 2012, while ramping up to full capacity of 9Mtpa of direct-shipping ore for export start in 2013. The envisaged life span of the mine is 29 years, with potential for further expansion.
Kolomela Mine Geology
Kolomela comprises of three separate bodies located on the Southern tilt of the ore bearing belt that hosts the Sishen deposit towards the north. The lithologies are identified to be Griqualand West Supergroup. The ore bodies delineate the western margin of the Kaapvaal Craton in the Northern Cape Province.
The Kolomela bodies measure up to 2km in length, 400m in width and 300 m in depth. The deposits consists of four varieties of high grade haematite ores, namely clastic-textured (29%), laminated (53%), collapse breccia (10%), and conglomeratic (8%).
Iron Ore Reserves
The estimated ore reserves at Kolomela stood at 2,009.5mt of proved reserves grading 64.8% Fe and 102mt of probable reserves grading 64.0% Fe.
Kolomela mine produces 64% Fe lump and 63.5% Fe fine ore. The mine produced 8.5mt of direct shipping iron ore in 2012 with a stripping ratio of 3.3. The cash cost per tonne produced in 2012 was $23.3., while the production from mine during 2011 was 1.5mt.
Iron Ore Mining and Processing at Kolomela
Kolomela mine employs conventional open-pit mining method involving drilling, blasting, shovel-and-truck loading and hauling. The ore extracted from the mine is sent to the nearby processing plant, and the ore then undergoes primary, secondary and tertiary crushing at the plant. The crushed ore is scalped and screened before being sent to the stockyard.
Different grades of processed ore are blended at the stacker-reclaiming facility in order to ensure that the grade requirements of the client are met. Sishen mine’s products are also blended with mine’s products before final shipment of the ore. The export ore is sent via a conveyor to the load-out terminal of Kolomela. From there it is transported via a newly constructed 36km rail line linking the Sishen-Saldanha export line connected to the Saldanha Bay.
The Kolomela expansion project aims at extracting 150mt of iron ore resource falling outside the current life of mine (LoM) plan and introducing a beneficiation facility for Kolomela mining operation. The expansion project, which is currently in pre-feasibility stage is expected to start production in 2017.
The expansion project is set to increase the total production capacity of Kolomela mine by 6mt per year in addition to the extension of Kolomela’s LoM.