The high-grade Kamoa-Kakula copper project in the Democratic Republic of Congo is expected to reach a 400,000 tonnes-a-year production run rate ahead of schedule next year, with construction of the duplicate phase-two concentrator said to be more than 50% complete at the end of September.
Project manager and 39.6% owner Ivanhoe Mines said the 3.8 million tonnes per annum phase-two concentrator was on track to start operations in the June quarter next year, compared with current guidance of Q3.
“The ahead-of-schedule and on-budget achievements at Kamoa-Kakula stand tall and shine brightly in a COVID-19 world … where mining, infrastructure, and other industrial projects are routinely massively delayed, hindered by supply bottlenecks and predictably subject to significant cost over-runs,” said Ivanhoe executive co-chair Robert Friedland.
Ivanhoe’s partners at Kamoa-Kakula are China’s Zijin Mining (39.6%) and the DRC Government (20%). The US$2.5 billion phase one and two development of Kamoa-Kakula is part of a bigger plan to build the world’s second-largest copper mining complex with peak annual production of more than 800,000 tonnes from a 19Mtpa operation.
Ivanhoe said 3.66 million tonnes of surface ore stockpiles grading 4.73% copper, containing more than 173,000 tonnes of copper, were now in place to “help ensure a smooth and efficient ramp up of the phase-two concentrator to steady-state production during 2022”.
Meanwhile, the phase-one concentrator is reportedly achieving a run-rate throughput of 12,600t per day or about 4.2Mtpa – 10.5% above the design rate – and delivered a new daily record 721t at the start of this month.
Copper is currently trading around US$9,500 a tonne.
Kamoa-Kakula only started producing copper concentrate in May this year and made its first delivery of bulk concentrates to the nearby Lualaba copper smelter, outside of Kolwezi, on June 1.