Kamoa Copper S.A. has announced that the Company has achieved its first full quarter of production. The first full quarter of commercial production in the three months ended 30 September 2021, resulted in Kamoa Copper recording an inaugural operating profit of $209.7 million for the quarter.
Kamoa Copper began producing copper in May 2021 and achieved commercial production on 1 July 2021. Production for the third quarter was 41,545 tonnes of copper in concentrate, for delivery to either the Lualaba Copper Smelter near Kolwezi, or to international markets.
Having produced over 77,500 tonnes of copper in concentrate as of 15 November 2021, the initial 2021 production guidance range for copper in concentrate of 80,000 to 95,000 tonnes was raised to 92,500 to 100,000 tonnes, reflecting the successful completion of ramp-up of the Phase 1 concentrator.
During its first quarter of commercial production, Kamoa Copper sold 41,490 tonnes of payable copper and recognised revenue of $342.6 million, with an operating profit of $209.7 million and EBITDA of $233.2 million.
“Turning an operating profit in just the first quarter of commercial production at Kamoa highlights the ability of the mine to deliver as promised, and to self-fund its expansion to produce up to 800,000 tonnes of copper yearly, as demonstrated in previous independent studies. Kamoa Copper will rapidly repay its construction costs and pay dividends to its shareholders, including our most important partner, the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo,” explains Ivanhoe Mines Founder & Executive Co-Chair Robert Friedland.
Total ore milled for Q3 2021 amounted to 861,000 tonnes, while the copper ore grade processed was 5.89%. Copper recoveries progressively increased from an average of approximately 81% in July 2021 to approximately 85% in September 2021. The Phase 1, steady-state-design copper recovery is approximately 86%, depending on ore feed grade.
Kamoa Copper’s cost of sales per pound (lb) of payable copper sold was $1.08/lb, while cash costs (C1) per pound of payable copper totalled $1.37/lb. Costs for the quarter reflect the measured ramp-up of production at Kamoa to steady-state and are expected to trend downward as the Phase 2 concentrator plant is commissioned and the mine’s fixed operating costs are spread over increased copper production.
As of the end of September 2021, Kamoa Copper’s total high- and medium-grade ore surface stockpiles totalled approximately 3.66 million tonnes at an estimated grade of 4.73% copper.
Kamoa Copper’s Phase 2 expansion, which entails the construction of a second 3.8 Mtpa concentrator plant, is progressing well toward a Q2 2022 start-up, which will see a doubling of the mine’s nameplate milling throughput to 7.6 Mtpa. Phases 1 and 2 combined are forecast to produce approximately 400,000 tonnes of copper per year.