Chairman of the Board, Ben Munanga and CEO, Mark Farren are pleased to share that Kamoa’s phase 1, 3.8 Mtpa concentrator plant has met, or exceeded, all design criteria and is now in steady-state operation.
Kamoa is projected to be the world’s highest-grade major copper mine, with an initial mining rate of 3.8 Mtpa at an estimated, average feed grade of more than 6.0% copper over the first five years of operations, and 5.9% copper over the initial 10 years of operations.
Phase 1 is expected to produce approximately 200,000 tonnes of copper per year, while the Phase 2 expansion is forecast to increase production to approximately 400,000 tonnes of copper annually.
Based on independent benchmarking, the project’s phased expansion scenario to 19 Mtpa would position Kamoa-Kakula as the world’s second-largest copper mining complex, with peak annual copper production of more than 800,000 tonnes.
In October, 323,368 tonnes of ore was milled at an average feed grade of 5.89% copper, exceeding the monthly design run rate of 316,667 tonnes.
During the last ten days of October, the mine produced an average of 611 tonnes of copper in concentrate per day. On 25 October, a production record of 729 tonnes of copper in concentrate was achieved, setting a new daily output record.
“This excellent achievement highlights the level of production we are targeting in future,” Farren explained.
In the reporting month ending 20 October – marking Kamoa Copper’s fifth full month of production – a record 16,211 tonnes of copper in filtered concentrate was produced, approaching the Phase 1 target output of 16,666 tonnes per month, or 200,000 tpa. The average floated concentrate copper grade in October was 51.5%. A total of 62,974 tonnes of copper in concentrate had been produced year-to-date for distribution to either the Lualaba Copper Smelter or international markets.
CEO, Mark Farren commented on the progress achieved:
“October was an important milestone month for us in many ways. The project team managed to commission the second concentrate filter press which is now fully operational. While it took a few weeks to fine tune the second filter press, the plant performance met steady-state expectations despite intermittent regional power outages during the first three weeks of October.”
The second 3.8-Mtpa concentrator plant (Phase 2) is progressing well, with the overall project approximately 60% complete. Engineering and procurement activities have effectively been completed and fabrication is over 92% complete. The erection of structural steel and installation of platework and equipment remain the key construction priorities.
More than 550 truckloads with Phase 2 construction equipment and materials have already been delivered to site, with 31 more truckloads still expected.
A total of 395,000 tonnes grading 5.73% copper was mined during the period from September 21 to October 20, including 174,000 tonnes grading 6.91% copper from the Kakula Mine’s high-grade centre and 35,000 tonnes grading 3.84% copper from the Kansoko Mine.
The project’s surface stockpiles now contain approximately 3.73 Mt of high-grade and medium-grade ore at an estimated, blended average of 4.72% copper. Contained copper in the stockpiles at the end of August now totals more than 175,000 tonnes (the current copper price is approximately US$9,500 per tonne).
In addition to the ongoing operational progress, Kamoa Copper’s Transformation Department celebrated the launch of a new talent development programme on 16th October. The new and innovative Kipaji Development Programme will focus on developing Congolese employees into industry advocates and future leaders of the company.
A selected number of 30 candidates will go through a rigorous development process that includes individualised development plans and mentorship to help improve leadership and technical skills. The Swahili word “Kipaji” means “talented” or “gifted,” which is a fitting name for Kamoa Copper’s goal of grooming the next generation of industry professionals and leaders, helping to mould the future of mining in the DRC.