The Luilu Metallurgical Plant was constructed in 1960 and expanded in 1972. It comprises three roasters, leaching circuits and electrolytic cells for copper and cobalt production. It has a potential capacity of 175,000 tonnes of copper and 8,000 tonnes of cobalt per year.

The Luilu facility operates by first roasting the sulphide concentrate and then subjecting it to a process of leaching and purification. Oxide concentrate is added to the sulfide leach stream for direct leaching of the concentrate. Finally, electro-winning is used to produce copper cathode. The solution is then transferred to the cobalt area, where cobalt metal is produced via electro-winning.

When Katanga took control of the site from the DRC’s state-owned mining company G camines, the facility was in a semi-derelict state. Following Phase I of a major rehabilitation program to the concentrate roaster, leaching and thickening tanks, and electro-winning cells, copper production was restarted in December 2007. Work on the cobalt production circuit continued in Q1 2008 and production is now under way.

During 2008 a new roaster will be constructed and leaching and electro-winning capacity doubled under Phase II of the project.

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Key facts

  • Roasters, leaching circuits and electro-winning cells for copper and cobalt production
  • Potential capacity of 175,000 tonnes of copper and 8,000 tonnes of cobalt per year
  • First copper cathode produced December

View more images of our assets in the image gallery

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