With a very small fraction of the average swarm capable of eating as much food in one day as 2,500 people, nine countries are meeting today in Algiers to discuss regional locust control campaigns that are needed this summer.As good rains have fallen throughout the Sahel (sub-Sahara) region and ecological conditions are favourable, large-scale breeding will commence shortly, causing locust numbers to increase further in West Africa, FAO said in its latest update on the threat. But in northwest Africa, where intensive control operations have been carried out since February, there are signs that the situation is improving.No swarms have been reported in Chad or Darfur, Sudan, but the risk there remains high and there is a potential risk that swarms could also reach Burkina Faso, the agency warned. So far, $9 million of emergency aid has been pledged. FAO has contributed nearly $2 million from its own resources and donors $7 million.Control campaigns in the Sahel are being hampered by a lack of available resources and the difficulty of locating and treating the highly mobile swarms. In 2004, control operations treated a total of 182,000 hectares in Mauritania and 900 hectares in Senegal. Intensive ground and aerial control operations continued in northwest Africa where more than 5 million hectares have been treated so far this year.By mid-July there had been a decline in the number of hectares treated in Morocco and Libya, suggesting that the situation is starting to get better in both countries and should become calm in the region over the next few weeks.A desert locust eats its own weight of food every day, about 2 grams, and swarms range from less than one square kilometre to hundreds of square kilometres in size. There are about 50 million locusts per square kilometres of medium-density swarm. The total number of locusts in a swarm varies from a few hundred million to several billion.
Pybar Mining Services has started up underground mining at Heron Resources’ Woodlawn zinc project in New South Wales, Australia, ahead of full commissioning by the end of the year.The company entered into a four-year underground mining contract with Pybar in February and the contractor has now kicked off mining. This includes the ground support of box cut walls and the first portal blast of the decline.Heron said the overall project, as of the end of August, was 73% complete, with earthworks substantially concluded, equipment purchasing at 98%, concrete almost complete and offsite fabrication 92% signed off. Sedgman is the EPC contractor.Woodlawn is envisaged as a 1.5 Mt/y operation able to produce 40,000 t/y of zinc, 10,000 t/y of copper and 12,000 t/y of lead at steady-state production over a 9.3-year mine life. This is based on a reserve base of 2.8 Mt at 14% ZnEq from underground and 9.5 Mt at 6% ZnEq from reprocessed tailings.The operation is set to use an IsaMill™ to treat the zinc-rich reclaimed tailings, as well as polymetallic primary ore in different processing modes. The 3 MW 10,000 IsaMill comes with an IsaCharger™ media delivery system, as well as commissioning services from Glencore Technology.Heron’s Managing Director Wayne Taylor said: “Exploration over the last four years has defined a very high-grade, high-quality resource and reserve position, and the access which has now commenced will enable us to deliver underground ore into the processing plant in 2019.“Once underground, our geological team will focus on further expanding the known mineralised positions to build upon the excellent and cost-effective work they have undertaken to date.“Elsewhere on site, I am pleased to report that good progress continues to be made with all aspects of the build, and that works remain on schedule for the commissioning by the end of the year.”