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Ivanhoe completes Phase 3 concentrator construction at DRC project ahead of schedule

An image of Ivanhoe founder and executive co-chairperson Robert Friedland

Ivanhoe founder and executive co-chairperson Robert Friedland

Photo by Bloomberg

28th May 2024

By: Tasneem Bulbulia

Senior Contributing Editor Online

     

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TSX-listed Ivanhoe Mines announced that, on May 26, first ore was fed into the Phase 3 concentrator at the Kamoa-Kakula Copper Complex in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

First ore marks the completion of construction of the Phase 3 concentrator, which has been achieved months ahead of schedule and on budget.

First concentrate is expected in early June, while ramp-up to commercial production is targeted for early in the third quarter.

The Phase 3 concentrator increases Kamoa-Kakula copper production capacity to over 600 000 t/y, making Kamoa-Kakula the fourth-largest copper mining complex globally.

Further Kamoa-Kakula growth initiatives are in progress, including Project 95, de-bottlenecking of Phase 3 and potential acceleration of Phase 4 expansion.

Zero lost-time injuries were recorded during the construction of the Phase 3 concentrator.

The Phase 1 and 2 concentrators produced more than 63 000 t of copper since start of April, which the company says is a significant improvement resulting from improved power stability.

Kamoa-Kakula’s 2024 production guidance has been maintained at 440 000 t to 490 000 t of copper in concentrate.

“The Kamoa-Kakula operations team continues its industry-leading execution with the early and on-budget delivery of the Phase 3 concentrator and underground mining operations . . . a rare feat in an industry plagued by cost overruns and delays when it comes to complex, world-scale projects,” says Ivanhoe founder and executive co-chairperson Robert Friedland.

“Meanwhile, we have experienced much-improved power stability over the second quarter following our team's proactive response to grid instability experienced in the southern DRC grid.

“As a result, we’ve seen materially higher head grades and improved production over the past two months. We expect a stronger second quarter from Kamoa-Kakula’s operations, reinforcing our confidence that production will align with annual guidance,” he adds.

Friedland acclaims that owing to the outperformance of Kamoa-Kakula’s operations to date, including higher-than-expected throughput and recoveries at the Phase 1 and Phase 2 concentrators, the company is now studying options to boost copper production towards its next goal of 800 000 t/y –  “a production rate that would propel the Kamoa-Kakula Copper Complex towards being one of the two largest copper producers on our planet”. 

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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