The Congolese Terril Treatment Company of Lubumbashi (STL), is one of the Générale des Carrières et des Mines (GECAMINES) industrial chain leaders, located in the heart of the copper capital city, namely Lubumbashi, in its south-western part, precisely on Kipushi Road, bordering GECAMINES agents’ city.
Beginning of STL
STL was registered in September 1999 at the Lubumbashi Grande Instance Tribunal registry as a private limited liability company.
This Company has been created within a framework of partnership between GECAMINES, the Groupe George Forrest SA (GGF ) and OMG Inc. ( Ottokoumpu Mining Group). All of these Companies signed a framework contract on February 14, 1996 aimed at creating a joint venture.
The Company’s corporate object is the metallurgical processing of slag from the Terril of Lubumbashi into cobalt alloys.
The land ownership of the site on which both the plant and the Terril are located, as well as the Company’s exploitation permit itself have always belonged to GECAMINES.
The Plant started operating on November 30, 2000, the inauguration date. In January 2013, OMG withdrew from the joint venture. Since March 2013, the company took on a new configuration by keeping the two remaining shareholders, including GFI (70%) and Gécamines (30%).
Plant shutdown (2017-2019)
The company operated until July 2017, when a technical incident causing a leak in the electrical furnace tank, i.e, the hub of production. This event forced the activity to completely stop on August 13, 2017. Employees were thus laid off on September 27 of the same year and the plant shut down.
Production shutdown lasted for two years.
Following the conclusion of an agreement between Gécamines and GGF on February 23, 2018, which entered into force on April 13, 2018, Gécamines became STL sole shareholder and the sole owner of all assets dedicated to the exploitation of the Lubumbashi slag heap, including in particular the main furnace, peripherals and other installations.
Furnace rehabilitation works (on exclusive expense of GGF pursuant to an agreement with GECAMINES) began in 2018 and were carried out under technical supervision of Outotech , the designer. The furnace was thus repaired and restored to normal operating condition, whose commissioning was certified by a completion certificate issued by an independent expert on March 21, 2019.
On July 30, 2019, a 3-year operation and maintenance agreement was concluded between Gécamines and DNMG TECHNOLOGIE ENGINEERING held by DAYE NON-FERROUS METALS GROUP HOLDING CO., LTD.
In fact, DAYE has solid expertise in this type of activity for it manages also similar furnaces in China.
This technical partnership aims at providing technical skills required for safe operation of the furnace as well as guaranteeing the improvement of operational performances.
In addition, 80% of the plant workers prior to the shutdown have been recalled to work, thus allowing them to capitalize on their operational experience.
STL under Gécamines banner (since 2019)
Gécamines management of STL actually started only in 2019 following completion and delivery of the rehabilitated metallurgical furnace.
In the process of restarting and day-to-day operation of the electric furnace, Gécamines wanted to be accompanied by an operator whose role would be facilities operation and management.
A 3-year operation and maintenance agreement has been concluded between Gécamines and DNMG TECHNOLOGIE ENGINEERING held by DAYE NON-FERROUS METALS GROUP HOLDING CO., LTD on July 30, 2019.
DAYE has solid expertise in this type of activity and also manages similar furnaces in China.
Gécamines has chosen to spin off commercial exploitation of the Terril into STL (which is a 100% Gécamines subsidiary) in order to make of it an independent company able to operate the plant.
On December 20, 2019, Gécamines transferred assets and liabilities of the project to STL, including related rights and obligations under purchase and pre-financing agreements so as to allow the autonomy of the company.
From this date onward, STL holds full ownership of assets and various agreements so that only a capital link does exist between the Company and Gécamines, which is its sole shareholder.
As part of the spin-off operation of STL, it has been agreed that Gécamines :
- transfers technical installations ownership to the company, including the electric furnace as well as all the assets required for production;
- Leases Lubumbashi slag heap related mining rights (whereby GECAMINES is leasing company and STL, the lessee one;
- Transfers land concession to STL as well as its mining products purchase agreements entered into as part of the pre -financing of the project;
- Assigns to STL responsibility for the operation and maintenance agreement signed between Gécamines and DAYE.
Timeline of a unique project:
Furnace restarted under the banner of Gecamines.
STL becomes independent, with Gecamines as the sole shareholder.
JORC compliant resource report.
Metallurgical studies to determine the best hydrometallurgical flowsheet for the processing of the white alloy.
Earth works begin.
Plant in final stages of commissioning.