'Green' miner recycles Namaqualand mining waste to produce A-grade copper
'Green' copper processor Big Tree Copper is targeting a stock exchange listing by June or July this year.
It plans to raise more than R100 million in capital.
The company recycles previously dumped mining waste in the Northern Cape through overground processing at the decommissioned Okiep Copper Mine, now the site plant in Nababeep.
At the core of its mission says Big Tree, is "a restorative environmental cleanup" that will return the area to its pre-exploitation state upon exhaustion of the waste stockpile.
"Through the development of its own technology, the firm has commenced recycling previously dumped ore and mining waste to produce premium grade copper."
Bruce Whitfield interviews the CEO of Big Tree Copper, Jan Nelson.
Mining's been going on in that area for over 100 years and the previous mining companies never cleaned up the discard they left behind.Jan Nelson, CEO - Big Tree Copper
Luckily there's a lot of oxide ore in that discard and we've built South Africa's only processing plant that can process that oxide ore and clean it up... and then our discard is neutralised and used to fill up old mining excavations...Jan Nelson, CEO - Big Tree Copper
So we're cleaning up the site and we are filling up the old excavations so there's no danger to people in the area. At the same time we're producing A-grade copper.Jan Nelson, CEO - Big Tree Copper
Our total cost is about $4,100 a ton and we're currently selling... our copper for $9,500 a ton, so there's quite a healthy margin. We've got a 30-year life, so there's a very long period that we can process this ore.Jan Nelson, CEO - Big Tree Copper
Presently the company's output is around 100 tons a month or 1,500 tons a year, which they plan to build up to to 8,000 tons within the next three years.
Nelson says while production is not big compared to global standards, Big Tree provides investors with a healthy margin.
Where other people walked away from these dumps and saw it as a liability, we saw it as an opportunity. That has certainly paid off for us.Jan Nelson, CEO - Big Tree Copper
There's already about a ten-million-ton deficit of copper in the world... It's a fantastic metal for the green economy, we're cleaning up the environment and we're making quite a big impact in the local community which has a high jobless figure.Jan Nelson, CEO - Big Tree Copper
Except for Palabora [in Phalaborwa], which isn't in production at the moment, we are now the only copper producer in South Africa.Jan Nelson, CEO - Big Tree Copper
Listen to the interview with Nelson on The Money Show:
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