Chinese ambassador to Eritrea, Cai Ge, cut the ribbon to officially inaugurate Eritrea’s new polymetallic mine – the Asmara project. The Asmara Mining Share Company, the holder of the Asmara Project in Eritrea, is a 60:40 joint venture between Chinese SRBM and state-owned ENAMCO.
The project hosts four known deposits at Emba Derho, Adi Nefas, Gupo, and Debarwa.
The mine is expected to have a life of 17 years, producing an estimated 381,000 metric tons of copper, 850,000 tons of zinc, 436,000 ounces of gold, and 11 million ounces of silver.
In Phase 1A, the high-grade copper will be mined from the Debarwa deposit by open-pit methods, crushed and loaded into containers, and transported 120 km to the port facility at Massawa for shipping and sale to a smelter in China, (a process known as direct shipping ore or “DSO”).
Summary of Asmara Project Feasibility Study:
The Asmara Project feasibility study (the “Study”) dated effective May 16, 2013 (amended March 2014), demonstrated that mining the four advanced deposits that make up the Asmara Project (Emba Derho, Adi Nefas, Gupo Gold and Debarwa) and processing of the ore at a central location near the large Emba Derho deposit is economically robust with a pre-tax net present value (“NPV”) of $692 million (using a 10% discount rate) and with a pre-tax internal rate of return (“IRR”) of 34%. The post-tax NPV is $428 million with an IRR of 27%.
The Study outlines a three-phase start-up mining operation which would begin with Phase 1A of high-grade copper DSO production from the Debarwa deposit, followed by Phase 1B heap-leaching of near surface gold, Phase 2 supergene copper production, then zinc and copper at a full production rate of 4 million tonnes per year.
At full production, the Asmara Mine will produce an average annual production of 65 million lbs (29,000 tons) copper, 184 million lbs (83,000 tons) zinc, 42,000 oz gold, and 1 million oz silver over the first 8 years.
The life of mine is 17 years.