Ivanhoe Mines has responded to a media report stating that miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) received an order on 26 May 26 2021 that has banned the export of copper and cobalt concentrate from the country.
Ivanhoe confirmed that it is aware of the order issued to customs officials by the provincial director of Customs and Excise in the Katanga Province of DRC. The company is also aware of a subsequent letter confirming that companies with a derogation letter from the Minister of Mines will be allowed to export concentrates.
A sector wide derogation from the concentrate export prohibition expired on 12 April 2021 and was replaced by a framework allowing the Minister of Mines to grant individual derogations on a case-by-case basis following an application by an interested party.
Ivanhoe’s president and CFO Marna Cloete commented, “The concentrate export ban is not new. However, the rules now recognize that a derogation may be justified for a number of reasons. Kamoa Copper has filed the necessary application materials and we have had constructive discussions with the Minister of Mines on obtaining a derogation for Kamoa-Kakula given current limitations on smelting capacity in-country.
“We fully intend to utilize local smelter capacity to the extent possible. Furthermore, as we announced in March, Ivanhoe Mines, together with our joint venture partner Zijin Mining, is assessing the construction of a smelting complex at Kamoa-Kakula for the production of blister and anode copper. This is all part of our intention to operate responsibly in the DRC for generations to come, and for the benefit of all of our stakeholders, including the Government of DRC who are our 20% partner in Kamoa Copper.”
Kamoa-Kakula began producing copper concentrates this month (May) and, through phased expansions, is positioned to become one of the world’s largest copper producers. Kamoa-Kakula and Kipushi will be powered by clean, renewable hydro-generated electricity and will be among the world’s lowest greenhouse gas emitters per unit of metal produced.