Ivanhoe Mines Co-Chairs, Robert Friedland and Yufeng ‘Miles’ Sun, have announced that the Kamoa-Kakula Mining Complex in the Democratic Republic of Congo has set a new quarterly production record in 1Q22, with 55 602 t of copper in concentrate produced. Kamoa Copper milled 1.08 million ore t during the quarter at an average feed grade of 5.91% copper (Cu).
The Kamoa-Kakula Phase 2, 3.8 million tpy concentrator plant successfully declared commercial production on 7 April 2022. In addition, KamoaKakula set a new daily production record on 8 April 2022, with 25 126 t milled and 1202 t of copper produced.
Management now expects that the early commissioning of the Phase 2 concentrator plant will enable Kamoa Copper to reach the upper end of its 2022 copper production guidance of 290 000 – 340 000 t.
First ore was introduced into the Phase 2 milling circuit on 21 March 2022, 2022, and first copper concentrate was produced approximately four months ahead of the originally announced development schedule. The Phase 2 concentrator plant is a mirror image of the Phase 1 plant, with a design throughput of 475 dry tph, or 3.8 million tpy of ore. Over the last six months, the Phase 1 plant has consistently exceeded design ore throughput by approximately 10% to 15%.
During the first 17 days of production, Phase 2 regularly exceeded its design throughput capacity, and continues to perform at similar throughput and recovery rates as the Phase 1 concentrator.
Kamoa-Kakula’s Phase 1 and Phase 2 concentrator plants now are both in commercial production. Kamoa Copper will increase its annualised copper production rate to more than 400 000 t from this month forward.
Mark Farren, Kamoa Copper’s CEO, commented: “The Phase 2 concentrator has been successfully commissioned in record time. We can expect to see a doubling of copper output for the remainder of this year, as well as further increases into 2023 as the debottlenecking programme is executed. It has been wonderful to see how quickly Phase 2 reached commercial production, as our team leveraged prior learnings and experience from Phase 1.
“Our project team’s focus now will be firmly on Phase 3 execution. We intend to deliver the Phase 3 project once again on time, and on budget. Phase 3 is targeting first production by 4Q24. We are proud of what our people have achieved in a very short space of time – and are equally determined to reach the next milestones along a similar trajectory.”
Friedland added: “We must again commend the operations team at Kamoa Copper for their consistent ability to exceed all expectations. Over the past three years, Ivanhoe Mines and its partners have continued to demonstrate an ability to deliver world-scale mining development projects ahead of schedule, and on budget […] a real-world unicorn in this industry. In under three years, we fully expect Kamoa-Kakula to become the world’s second-largest global copper producing complex. Details will be announced later this year with the release of the Phase 3 pre-feasibility study in 3Q22.
“It is certainly an exciting time to be a shareholder and employee of Ivanhoe Mines, as we embark on a period of unprecedented growth to emerge as the world’s next major, diversified mining company, in close partnership with our local communities.
“The global markets are experiencing a historic, long-term, and acute shortage of the vital metals we require to achieve the electrification and decarbonisation of the world economy. London Metal Exchange stocks of its six main metals (copper, aluminium, zinc, lead, tin, and nickel) are at their collective lowest level since at least 1997 […] and senior management at Ivanhoe Mines sees ourselves as an integral part of the solution by providing the metals the world urgently needs for electrification […] together with our joint venture partner, Zijin Mining, we are resolved to expedite future expansion phases at Kamoa-Kakula to generate stable, profitable growth and provide lasting economic and social benefits for the Congolese nation and people.”