"Currently we have seen an increase in copper prices and I am confident that operations will improve as new projects are opening up. We expect to see a positive trend in the mining industry."
What is the current state of the Zambian mining industry?
The mining industry was affected at the beginning of the year by the Covid-19 pandemic causing delays in transportation of goods and personnel, which affected mining operations. Blu Rock’s drilling activities were impacted as new investments were deferred to improve our business environment. In Zambia’s North-Western province Blu Rock is working in the Sentinel copper mine, Kalumbila with First Quantum Minerals.
Kalumbila mine is very well established with good infrastructure as well as excellent and dedicated professional workmanship. We are privileged to work with the mine from the days of exploration.
Currently we have seen an increase in copper prices and I am confident that operations will improve as new projects are opening up. We expect to see a positive trend in the mining industry.
How have your operations in the DRC developed in the last few years?
Our move to the DRC was motivated by the great potential the mining industry offers as the largest copper producer in Africa. Therefore, Blu Rock Sarl was established to participate in mining projects. One of them was at the Mutanda mine of Glencore. We were involved in the blast hole, exploration and depressurizing drilling work that were very successful and professionally executed. The mine has exhausted oxide ore and is currently on care and maintenance.
Currently, Blu Rock is undertaking support and exploration projects with ERG, while looking forward to continue participating in new projects that lay ahead.
We are mobilizing for underground core drilling operations at Kamoa Mines.
The Zambian economy is struggling with an immense amount of debt. How is this influencing stability and certainty?
We believe the Zambian Government is putting much effort into improving the business environment and the economy as a whole. We trust that new investments both local and foreign will contribute to the development of the country.
What current projects is Blu Rock working on and how does it strategically position itself in the market?
We are present in Zambia; blast hole drilling at the Kalumbila Sentinel Quarry. We have been operating there for many years, and we manage to operate in challenging ground conditions (granite with broken and wet formation).
Another project in Zambia is supplying geotechnical core drilling and shelby sampling at the Sentinel mine with Kalumbila Minerals; this project is to assess the ground stability and strength.
We are conducting exploration drilling at the Pangeni copper project for BMetals in the North-Western region of the Zambian Copperbelt. We have completed one of three phases of drilling, executed with diamond core drilling and Aircore. Blu Rock faced very deep (up to 90 m) sand cover in the area. Meanwhile, at Mopani copper mines we have undertaken core drilling and grouting to stabilize the concentrator foundation.
As for the DRC, we are currently working with ERG Company at Comide, Frontier, Kipushi and Mwati. Our main operations are core exploration drilling. In usually loose formation, some of the holes are sometimes -25˚ to - 30˚ angles that requires specialized skills and equipment. Horizontal drilling at Frontier at +10˚angle required very creative operations that required drilling of up to 400 m. In some cases, the water flow from those holes was 100 litres per second.
At Kamoa-Kakula underground, we are currently undertaking an uphole drilling operation where the rig must be positioned 5-7 m above the floor.
How would you compare the ease of doing business in Zambia to the DRC?
When you consider logistics and transportation, Zambia is closer to South Africa and the ports, which makes it easier to receive necessary supplies. Both countries have, however, made good progress in logistics and border crossing.
What has been Blu Rock’s biggest milestone since its establishment?
Blu Rock Mining and Blu Rock SARL have achieved excellent records in safety and quality. We have strived to deliver quality services on-time to our clients satisfaction. We are confident that our professional approach and dedication will keep our business well positioned for our efforts to expand our projects in Zambia, DRC and other countries.