It produces copper by processing old historically mined rock dumps through a copper processing plant. The discard from the process is neutralised and used to fill-up old, mined areas whilst restoring the previously disturbed environment to its natural state. The company is therefore classified as an environmental clean-up business. No mining takes place in the process, only the moving and processing of rock and deposition of a neutralised slurry. Cape Copper Oxide started construction of the copper processing plant on 12 April 2019 and commissioned the plant on 14 May 2021 with first copper being produced on 5 July 2022. The copper processing plant is located next to the town of Nababeep in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa and employs 160 people.
Cape Copper Oxide has built the first SX/EW (Solvent Extraction and Electrowining) Copper plant in the NCCB and in South Africa. On 10 August 2021 Cape Copper Oxide produced not only the first copper in the district in 10 years but also the first copper cathode (copper plates produced through the process of plating copper in solution via electric current) by cleaning up historical mined rock dumps. Furthermore, we are implementing Artificial Intelligence software in partnership with BASF (Multinational Chemical and Technology Company) that is a world first and optimises our metallurgical processing process of copper.
We are also in partnership with MetalTek (Specialist processing and Technology Company) building the first Fines Optimised Heap Leach (“FOHL”) pads in the world to further our copper processing recovery ability. This has also resulted in a world first in the application of technology towards environmental clean-up that leads to an almost zero net impact on the environment.
This not only gives us a strategic advantage when it comes to copper recovery but also a first mover advantage not only in the NCCB but also in South Africa (our home turf). We are also the only current producer of copper in the NCCB and the only company in South Africa that does so through environmental clean-up. Cape Copper Oxide recently won the Investing in African Mining Indaba 2022 ESG award for Technical Modernisation.