BusinessCompaniesCongo: Hinda mine will be green and fertile, says Cominco


Posted on Friday, 19 July 2013 13:54

Congo: Hinda mine will be green and fertile, says Cominco

By Nicholas Norbrook

Cominco Resources is upbeat about its phosphate project in Congo-Brazzaville's Kouilou province.


Congo-Brazzaville may soon have a further route to diversification of its economy, as Cominco Resources plans to produce phosphates and eventually fertiliser.

The British Virgin Islands-registered miner is developing the Hinda project.

Hinda's deposits contain more than 500m tn of phosphates at 11.1 percent concentration, and the company has only explored 25 percent of the site.

"This is a tier one resource", says Colin Ikin, Cominco's non-executive director, who sees a firm market for the proposed 4m-tn-per-year production in the first phase of the mine's development.

"Food prices are high, Asian demand for meat is pushing up prices, US supply is going down and Indian importers are looking to diversify away from a volatile MENA [Middle East and Northern Africa] region."

The company plans to com- plete its feasibility studies this year.

The final investment de- cision is set for early 2014, allowing production to begin in 2015.

The underlying strengths of the project, according to Cominco, are its low cost, its high ore ratios and proximity to cheap power derived from Italian oil company Eni's gas-fired power plant in Pointe-Noire.

Ikin also stresses the project's environmental credentials: "This will be a showcase for green mining".

While lobby groups have criticised Morocco's strip mining of phosphates because of its impact on topsoil, the Hinda project will use conveyor belts rather than trucks for its pit.

Cominco will crush the ore on site, concentrate it to more than 30 percent, and then mix it with water to be sent on a 37km pipeline to Pointe-Noire, where a dedicated jetty will be used to load ships.

A second phase would see the production of fertilisers with an ammonia plant. ●

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