Through phased expansions, Kamoa Copper, jointly owned by Ivanhoe Mines (39.6%), Zijin Mining Group (39.6%), Crystal River Global Limited (0.8%) and the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (20%), is positioned to become one of the world’s largest copper producers. The ramp-up of Kamoa Copper’s Phase 1, 3.8 million-tonne-per-annum (Mtpa) concentrator plant is ahead of schedule, with approximately 320 000 tonnes of ore milled in September.
In September, Kamoa Copper set a new monthly record with its fourth full month of production totalling more than 16 000 tonnes of copper concentrate with a total of 16 503 tonnes floated (average floated concentrate improved to 55.7%, up from approximately 48% in August). Over 46 700 tonnes of copper in concentrate have been produced year-to-date as of 20th September 2021, to supply either the Lualaba Copper Smelter near Kolwezi, or international markets.
Mark Farren, Kamoa Copper’s CEO, said, “The team at Kamoa has worked tirelessly to bring the Phase 1 concentrator to steady-state performance. We are very pleased with September’s results, which exceeded steady-state design parameters for ore throughput and were close to achieving steady-state design copper recovery and monthly copper production.”
According to Farren, with additional adjustments into the Phase 1 processing circuit, even better results are expected in the next quarter. He said, “These adjustments, which also will be incorporated into the Phase 2 processing circuit, should position us to achieve 2021 copper production in the upper end of our previous guidance of 80 000 to 95 000 tonnes.”
Kamoa successfully completed performance guarantee tests on the Phase 1 concentrator plant early September which involved a 72-hour continuous run at steady-state design, or above, ore throughput and grind.
Farren further added, “Mining production was steady at 384 000 tonnes produced from the Kakula and Kansoko mines. The mining teams now are well established and able to consistently outperform our internal target. We have established a skilled and motivated local workforce, who no doubt will carry us through the ramp-up of Phase 2 and subsequent expansions of our mining footprint. It also is encouraging to note that the Phase 2 concentrator construction remains solidly ahead of schedule and on budget.”
Per Kamoa, study work for the Phase 3 mine and concentrator expansion is underway, which includes optimisation work to determine mining production capacity and costs at the various mining areas on the Kamoa mining complex. This would include expanded facilities at the Kansoko Mine, Kamoa North (including the Bonanza Zone) and Kakula West.
Watch a new video highlighting the ramp-up of copper production at Kamoa, as well as the production of blister copper at the nearby Lualaba Copper Smelter: