Mining and enrichment

Within several decades of company’s activity, KGHM has mastered the profitable process of ore extraction and enrichment. 

Copper and silver are indispensable natural resources for the development of global economy. During 50 years of company's activity, KGHM has extracted over a billion tonne of mining output and has produced 18 million tonnes of copper. Current deposits will suffice for the next 40-50 years of mining activities. In 2012, the world has registered the highest growth rate of extraction.

The copper ore deposit operated by KGHM in Poland dips monoclinally at the depth from a few hundred meters to 1500 meters. Copper minerals are hosted by three main lithological rock types: sandstone, shale and dolomite. Four base copper sulphides are most common in the ore: chalcocite, bornite, chalcopyrite and covellite. The KGHM deposit is considered as a stratabound deposit occurring in sedimentary rocks with varied thickness up to over a dozen meters. In the ore sequence many faults are occurred with displacements up to several dozen meters.

Profil geologiczny złoża rud miedzi na monoklinie przedsudeckiej

Geological cross section of copper ore deposit in Fore-Sudetic Monocline

Przekrój geologiczny przez złoża rud miedzi na monoklinie przedsudeckiej

Geological profile of copper ore deposit in Fore-Sudetic Monocline.

The copper ore deposit operated by KGHM in Fore-Sudetic Monocline is one of the largest copper ore deposits in the World. Geological resources according to state on 31.12.2015 in particular deposits are:

Table 1: Geological resources summary of deposits in Fore-Sudetic Monocline (according to state from 31.12.2015)

ResourcesDeposits
Lubin-MałomicePolkowiceRudnaSieroszowiceRadwanice - GaworzyceGłogów Głęboki - PrzemysłowyKGHM
Geological resources Ore [k tonnes] 380 670 105 148 358 681 256 921 344 300 289 510 1 735 230
Cu [%] 1,32 2,35 1,65 2,67 1,37 2,39 1,84
Cu [k tonnes] 5 018 2 474 5 920 6 864 4 730 6 920 31 926
Ag [g/tonne] 55,3 46,8 47,3 63,1 26,4 79,0 52,5
Ag [tonnes] 21 043 4 919 16 961 16 219 9 078 22 869 91 088

Geological resources of copper ore according to state on 31.12.2015 are above 1,7 billion Mg, of average grade of Cu 1,84% and Ag around 52,5 g/Mg. The amount of metals in geological resources is over 31 million Mg Cu and over 90 thousand Mg of Ag.

Contribution of particular deposits in geological resources are as follows: 

Ore

Diagram – Contribution of particular Fore-Sudetic Monocline deposits in geological resources of copper ore.

Copper

Diagram – Contribution of particular Fore-Sudetic Monocline deposits in geological resources of copper.

Silver

Diagram – Contribution of particular Fore-Sudetic Monocline deposits in geological resources of silver.

Copper ore extraction in Poland is concentrated around three underground mines: Lubin, Rudna and Polkowice-Sieroszowice. Ore processing takes place in the Concentrator Plants, while copper, silver and other smelter products are produced in smelters in Głogów, Legnica, Cedynia wire rod mill.

Copper ore extraction and its delivery to the concentrator plants is a complicated process that includes:

  • drilling of blast-holes
  • locating explosives in blast-holes
  • preparation of anchor plate enclosure
  • dressing at coalface and in pits
  • transporting the output onto conveyors
  • crushing large rock blocks
  • transport of ore to the crushers 
  • transport of ore to the surface by means of equipment installed in extraction shafts
  • transport of ore to the concentrator plants

Copper ore enrichment involves mechanical processing which enables an effective management of the extracted ore. As a result, the concentrate contains the amount of copper that can be processed further in a smelter. This process is necessary due to an average 1.52% content of copper in the exploited Polish deposits. The technology applied by KGHM makes it possible to successfully recover copper and silver as well as other elements from the extracted output.

The Concentrator Plant, operating together with KGHM's mines, produces around 2 million tonnes of concentrate with 23% of copper content annually. The Plant is composed of three divisions where the same operations and processes take place: sifting and crushing, milling and classifying, flotation, thickening and filtration, and drying.