Sunday, April 06, 2008

King Solomon’s Mines reopening

(Timna mine)

"A land where you will eat food without scarcity, in which you will not lack anything; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper." ( Deuteronomy 8:9)

AHMSA Gears Up to Reopen King Solomon’s Mines
By Andrew K. Burger-06 Apr 2008

PRETORIA, South Africa
( Mexican steel and mining company AHMSA (Alto Hornos de Mexico; MXK:AHMSA) is looking forward to reviving mining on the site of the world’s oldest known copper mines located in the Arava Valley, part of Israel’s southernmost Eilot district. Having completed a feasibility study and pilot test of its plant and refining process, AHMSA Israel’s Arava Mines expects to reopen the Arava copper mine later this year and then move on and start producing copper cathodes for both export and domestic consumption.

Though the link to King Solomon and the 10th century BCE is a tenuous one, the copper mines and ore deposits at the Arava Mines’ site are generally acknowledged to be the oldest in the world, having been reliably dated back to ancient Egyptian times. The Egyptians had extensive mining and smelting operations and settlements there nearly 8,000 years ago.

In addition to the site’s historical and cultural significance, the environmental aspects and implications of the project are also of particular concern – the mines are adjacent to the Timna Park Reserve, a national park frequented by holiday goers and tourists known for its scenic red rock desert geography, geology and ecosystem.

Reviving King Solomon’s Mines

AHMSA’s plans to invest some US$160 million to bring the Arava Mine back into production. It expects to extract about 2 million tonnes of copper oxide ore per year, which - after passing through a heap leaching process then solvent extraction and electrowinning processes - will yield 22,000 tonnes of copper cathodes per year for the next 20 years.

“We expect to have the plant operating by the end of 2009. … We’ll start ordering equipment for long-term delivery in a couple months in order to avoid delays,” Arava Mines’ director Carla Garcia-Granados told Resource Investor.

To date, AHMSA Israel’s Arava Mines has received the approvals and permits necessary to move forward with the construction and working of an underground mine and processing plant. “We’re in the process of completing a basic engineering study and obtaining approvals and permits for plant construction, which will allow us to order and buy equipment for long-term delivery and start some building,” she explained. (continues here)


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