Zhangezur Copper-Molybdenum Combine (ZCMC), Kajaran, Armenia

In December 2004 the Kajaran consortium, formed by IfB, minrocon GmbH and Dr. Kirschbaum Projekt-Cnsulting GmbH was was awarded a contract Cronimet Mining mbH in Karlsruhe for a Due Diligence on the Zhangezur Copper-Molybdenunm Combine in Kajaran, Armenia. IfB was the consortium leader.

The Kajaran copper -molybdenum deposit is located in the mountainous suthern part of Armenia, about 60 km north of the border to Iran. To the west in about 10 km distance it is separated by a mountain range with peaks well above 3.000 m from the Azerbaidzhan enclave Nachicevan, and the border to the Nagornoy Karabach is in about 40 km distance to the east. ZCMC is the biggest mine in Armenia and the most important forex earner of the country.

The deposit in being mined since more than 50 years. Man mining equipment is drill rigs for the 240 mm diameter blast drill holes, electric rope shovels for loading and rear dump trucks (mainly of the 60 t class) for transport. The majority of the ore is hauled to one of the four glory holes, which are connected at their bottom by a tunnel. The ore is withdrawn in the tunnel from the glory holes and loaded onto train waggons. The train waggons discharge their load into the nearby gyratory crusher.

Belt conveyors haul the crushed ore to the opposit side of the valley, where the ore is further processed and fed to the flotation plant.

Processing plant and Administration of ZCMC in Kajaran

When Cronimet took over a controlling majority in ZCMC it was their target to modernize the operations and increase the capacity from some 8 Mio t/a of ore to 12,5 t/a in a first step and finally to 14 Mio t/a. Modernization was focussed on the replacement of old mining equipment and rehabilitation of the processing plant, which was done section by section without interruption of the production.

Kajaran Open Pit in 2.000 m Elevation in January 2005 (looking north-west)

The Kajaran Consortium assisted Cronimet also in the modernization of the mine operations by introducing a state of the art mine planning system system (Datamine) and providing an updated mining plan for the next 25 years.

Other follow-up studies in the same context were focussed on the identification of operational and environmental risks, and included also a review on the stability of the tailings dam.