Katti ecstatic as Kombat resumes production

The founding shareholder of the current ownership of the mine says it is now the government’s turn to invest in infrastructure at the mining settlement.

07 January 2022 | Business

STAFF REPORTER

WINDHOEK

Businessman Knowledge Katti, who owns 10% in Kombat Mine through his company Havana Investments, has expressed delight that the mine produced its first copper concentrate last week – paving the way for creating 300 jobs.

State-owned Epangelo Mining, the only other local shareholder in the mine, holds 10%.

Katti’s Havana Investments initially acquired 100% ownership of Kombat Mine from South African company Grove Mining – reportedly for N$50 million – but later sold 80% of its stake to Canada’s Trigon, retaining 20%. Katti said he donated 10% of his shares to the local community, through Epangelo.

The sale of the shares was to help raise capital and have a technical partner on board to help resurrect operations, Katti told Namibian Sun in July last year.

A statement announcing the latest breakthrough says teams worked through the Christmas period to complete the installation of filter presses and run ore through the full production process to achieve this milestone, meeting management's forecasted goal.

Besides copper, there are sizeable deposits of lead and silver within the mine’s operating licence.

More support needed

Speaking to Namibian Sun yesterday, Katti waxed poetic about the latest developments at the mine, saying: “Transforming resource wealth into direct wellbeing of the children and the communities where the mines operate has been a challenge, hence our decision to donate 10% of the resource wealth to the community via Epangelo.”

Katti, the founding shareholder of the current ownership of the mine, said Otjozondjupa governor James Uerikua and electricity distributor Cenored have been “very supportive” of efforts to revive Kombat Mine.

Her added: “However, we need more government interventions to invest in basic infrastructure and human capital development.”

“We also encourage the GIPF [Government Institutions Pension Fund] to invest in companies like Trigon Metals, which is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange in order to be exposed to the upside. Investing in Trigon Metals will help the company’s growth objectives and indirectly benefit the community.”

Exceed expectations

The concentrate produced exceeded the expectations of management, a statement said, demonstrating that the combination of new equipment from Xinhai and refurbished equipment from the historic operation are operating well.

“The feed material for this initial production was sub-optimal, lower-grade ore, while grind size, residence times and reagent use are being optimised, but satisfactory copper grades were achieved approaching 20% copper and over 600 g/t silver, well ahead of expectation at this stage of start-up,” Trigon said.

“Production continues, building up to first concentrate shipments toward the end of this month, January 2022. A declaration of full commercial production is forecast for March 2022, as the mine production ramps up and systems are optimised.”

Jed Richardson, president and CEO of Trigon, commented, "This first production is a tremendous milestone for the company, the Kombat community and our shareholders.

“Successful concentration of copper represents a major de-risking of the mine. A functioning mill is the primary technical hurdle in a mine's operation, and that hurdle has been overcome at Kombat. I cannot overstate how proud I am of our team in reaching this goal; battling through shipping challenges, Covid-19 and working through the Christmas holidays."

Flagship project

Kombat Mine is the flagship project of Trigon Metals, with the company's mining and prospecting licence areas covering an area of more than 7 500 hectares in the Otavi area.

The Kombat project is comprised of three mining licences, which produced approximately 12.46 million tonnes of copper between 1962 and 2008, at a grade of 2.62%.

The other two mining licences are within close proximity to Kombat at Gross Otavi and Harasib, which are believed to be highly prospective for lead and zinc. In addition, the company also holds an interest in two exclusive prospecting licences, which represent a potential strike extension of Kombat.

Who is Trigon?

Trigon is a publicly traded Canadian exploration and development company with its core business focused on copper and silver holdings in mine-friendly African jurisdictions. Currently the company has operations in Namibia and Morocco. In Morocco, the company is the holder of the Silver Hill project, a highly prospective copper and silver exploration project.

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