Development at Kukula is ahead of schedule

TSX-listed Ivanhoe Mines expects to start producing copper at its Kakula Mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Q3 2021.

DRC – Last week Ivanhoe Mines announced that underground development at Kakula totalled 1 842m in August, bringing the cumulative total underground development completed to date to more than 20.6km – approximately 6km ahead of schedule.

The majority of the underground development headings at the Kakula Mine currently are traversing medium-grade sections of the orebody, with average grades ranging between 3% and 5% copper. A concentrated effort was made in August to complete the ledging development in the room-and-pillar section of the mine to accommodate critical infrastructure, such as piping and electrical cabling, for the mine’s permanent water handling system.

Read: Kakula ahead of schedule

In addition, installation of ball mills and other major equipment for Kakula’s processing plant are well underway. Pre-production surface stockpiles at Kakula North, Kakula South and Kansoko now contain an estimated 671 000 tonnes of ore.

A ‘green’ copper mine

Kakula is projected to be the world’s highest-grade major copper mine, with an initial mining rate of 3.8 Mtpa (Mtpa) at an estimated average feed grade well in excess of 6% copper over the first five years of operation.

The mine will have one of the most favourable environmental footprints of any tier-one copper mine anywhere in the world. The mine will be powered by clean, renewable hydroelectricity and be among the world’s lowest greenhouse gas emitters per unit of copper produced. Kakula also will have a relatively small surface footprint as approximately 55% of the mine’s tailings will be pumped back into underground workings.

Ivanhoe Mines co-chair Richard Friedland added, “We also plan to soon announce the appointment of a leading environmental consulting firm to audit the mines greenhouse gas intensity metrics, providing ESG investors with independent and transparent verification of the project’s achievements towards our goal of producing the world’s greenest copper.”