TSX-listed Ivanhoe Mines reports that it is now progressing with the hot commissioning ramp-up of the concentrator at the Kamoa-Kakula mine, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), to nameplate capacity of 3.8-million tonnes a year.
This follows after the mine successfully started producing initial copper concentrate on May 25 after months of rapid underground development.
So far, the mining crew has delivered 406 000 t of ore grading 5.77% copper in May. The initial copper concentrates have been shipped to a nearby copper smelter.
Kamoa Copper has signed a ten-year agreement with Lualaba Copper Smelter, located outside the town of Kolwezi, for the processing of a portion of Kamoa’s copper concentrate production.
Ivanhoe is simultaneously progressing engineering and procurement for Phase 2 of the Kamoa-Kakula project, which involves the expansion to 7.6-million tonnes of production.
This work is on track to be completed by the third quarter of next year.
Ivanhoe has set its guidance for contained copper in concentrate production for the remainder of this year at between 80 000 t and 95 000 t.
Phase 1 is set to produce about 200 000 t/y of copper, while phases 1 and 2 combined will produce about 400 000 t/y of copper.
Based on the project’s phased expansion scenario to 19-million tonnes a year, the project will become the world’s second-largest copper mining complex, with peak copper production of more than 800 000 t/y.
Given the current copper price environment, Ivanhoe and its partner Zijin are exploring the acceleration of the Kamoa-Kakula Phase 3 concentrator expansion from 7.6-million tonnes a year to 11.4-million tonnes a year, which may be fed from expanded mining operations at Kansoko, or new mining areas at Kamoa North (including the Bonanza zone) and Kakula West.
The Kamoa-Kakula project is a joint venture between Ivanhoe (39.6%), Zijin Mining Group (39.6%), Crystal River Global Limited (0.8%) and the DRC government (20%).