Canada-headquartered Ivanhoe Mines announced at the thirty-second BMO Global Metals & Mining Conference that the debottlenecking of the Kamoa-Kakula Copper Complex’s Phase 1 and 2 concentrators, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has been completed ahead of schedule.
The ongoing final installation and commissioning of a fourth Larox filter press is the final step in the overall debottlenecking programme, which is expected to be completed in March.
“The operations team at Kamoa-Kakula continues to exceed expectations . . . once again delivering an important expansion project ahead of schedule and on budget.
“We intend to reach a sustainable, annualised production rate of 450 000 t of copper during the second quarter, which is an exceptional achievement considering we declared Phase 1 production at Kamoa-Kakula, alongside our joint venture partners, Zijin Mining, less than two years ago,” comments co-chairperson Robert Friedland.
“Our dedicated team of engineers is determined to continue this record of operational excellence as we execute the Phase 3 expansion. The project will include the integration of Africa's largest direct-to-blister smelter complex and will drive annualised production to over 600 000 t of copper by early 2025 . . . continuing Kamoa-Kakula’s distinction as the fastest-growing, highest-grade copper complex on our planet,” he adds.
The debottlenecking programme at Kamoa-Kakula's Phase 1 and Phase 2 concentrators is designed to increase the nameplate ore processing capacity by 22% from 7.6-million to 9.2-million tonnes a year of ore, increasing production capacity to about 450 000 t/y of copper in concentrate.
For comparison, Kamoa-Kakula produced 333 497 t of copper in concentrate in 2022.
Two scheduled plant shutdowns, to tie in the new debottlenecking equipment, are now complete.
The shutdown of the Phase 1 concentrator took place in January and the shutdown of the Phase 2 concentrator plant was completed on February 22.
The new equipment consists of new hydrocyclone systems, new scavenger-cleaner flotation cells, a new concentrate thickener, as well as upsized piping and pumping capacity.
The last outstanding action is the installation and commissioning of the fourth Larox filter press, which sits at the end of the processing circuit.
The filter press has been lowered into position in the concentrate storage and dispatch warehouse, and its installation and commissioning are anticipated to be completed in March.
The Phase 1 and Phase 2 concentrators are expected to be able to sustain the new nameplate capacity of 9.2-million tonnes of ore a year prior to the fourth Larox filter press being commissioned.
The total capital cost of the debottlenecking programme was about $50-million.
The Phase 1 concentrator has been operating at its new sustained nameplate capacity of 580 dry tonnes an hour since January 25 and, at times, delivered as much as 590 dry tonnes an hour.
On February 25, within 12 hours of restarting, the Phase 2 concentrator also ramped up to its new sustained nameplate capacity of 580 dry tonnes an hour, or 9.2-million tonnes a year.
The final installation of the Phase 2 concentrator’s scavenger-cleaner flotation cell was completed on February 22. The commissioning of the scavenger-cleaner flotation cell on the Phase 1 concentrator was completed in January.
Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online
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