CAFCA ventures into copper dumps re-processing

0
101

TINASHE MAKICHI

Listed cable manufacturer CAFCA has plans to start re-processing of defunct copper mine dumps as it seeks to convert blister copper into anodes and then work with Rio Tinto to convert anodes into cathodes.

CAFCA has also announced its intention to purchase scrap copper products, in a move regarded as a means to curb illegal exports of copper.

Managing director Rob Webster told Business Times that re-processing of copper dumps is an initiative the company has embarked on in order to augment its raw material supply.

“We have an initiative in place to reprocess copper dumps, convert the blister copper into anodes and then work with Rio Tinto to convert the anodes into cathodes,” Webster
said.

The company also offers a toll manufacturing option to customers who can access key raw materials such as copper and aluminium, which are converted at the cost of value addition.

Over the years Cafca has been selling more of the low yielding aluminium than the high paying copper cables. Resultantly margins have been under pressure.

When asked over the possibility of investing in the revival of any of the closed copper mines, Webster noted that the amount of copper required by CAFCA per month does not motivate the opening of a mine.

“Mhangura closed 15/20 years ago – we have been importing cathode from Zambia since then – we only use between a 100 and 180 tonnes of copper a month which is not enough to motivate the opening of a mine.”

Following the closure of the mine (Mhangura) about two decades ago, State mining vehicle, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation is seeking US$500m  to revive its three copper mines and to set up a new smelter and refinery. ZMDC has three groups of copper mines namely, Mhangura, Sanyati and Alaska.

Studies done show that there is significant potential on the copper mines and ZMDC has been engaging different investors to participate either as a joint venture or take up equity in any or all the copper mines.

With the price of copper increasing on the world market, experts say this presents an opportunity for Zimbabwe to consider reviving copper mines. Copper prices rose on Tuesday this week on bargain buying after having tumbled to a 15-week low in the previous session on heightened trade tensions between Beijing and Washington.

Benchmark copper was up 0,7 percent  at $6,049.50 a tonne rebounding from a 15-week low hit in the previous session.