The Reko Diq Mining Project is a US$ 3.3 billion investment project copper-gold open-pit mine in the northwest area of Balochistan. The project has an estimated mine life of 56 years. The annual production of the TCC Reko Diq project is estimated at 200,000 tons of copper and 250,000 ounces of gold from 600,000 tons of concentrate. In order to achieve this production rate approximately 110,000 tons of ore shall be processed daily. High-efficiency mining techniques and cutting-edge technology shall be used to achieve economic feasibility for the TCC Reko Diq project.
The TCC Reko Diq Project would consist of 4 main operations components:
- An open-pit mine
- A processing facility
- a concentrate pipeline to transport the product from the mine site to the port of Gwadar, and a dedicated marine terminal facility at the port for storage and transfer to shipping vessels for supply to smelters throughout the world
- A project village for TCC employees.
Mining Technique Used
The mining operation at Reko Diq is modelled on an open pit mine utilizing a conventional ‘truck and shovel’ technique. This means that giant mechanical shovels shall be used to dig out the copper ore which shall then be loaded onto 360 ton trucks that will then haul tons of copper ore on a daily basis from the mine to the processing facility. At the processing facility the rocks (ore) shall be crushed in giant crushers. This crushed ore shall then be transferred to a fine-grinding stage where it will be converted into a powdered form. This powder, containing small quantities of copper and gold shall pass through a separation process called ‘flotation’, resulting in a 30% concentrated slurry of copper and traces of gold.
This concentrate is the final product of the Reko Diq Mining Project which shall then be transported to the Gwadar port in Balochistan via a 682 km long underground slurry pipeline. This will be the longest pipeline in the world transporting copper concentrate. The scope of operations at the Gwadar port shall be limited to receiving, de-watering, storing and ship-loading concentrate for onwards selling to smelting units globally.
In order to keep the process running round the clock the average mining rate will be about 293,000 tons per day of ore and waste and, at this rate, the open-pit mining will continue for 46 years, thereafter the ore processing will continue for another 10 years utilising the ore stockpiles created over the years during the mining operation. In the processing plant about 110,000 tons of ore per day will be processed through flotation process. The plant will produce approximately 600,000 tons of copper concentrate a year, which will contain 28-31% copper and 7–22 g/ton gold. That translates to about 200,000 tons copper and 250,000 ounces of gold per year.