Ivanhoe Mines Co-Chairs, Robert Friedland and Yufeng “Miles” Sun have announced that construction of Kamoa-Kakula’s Phase 2 concentrator plant, which is designed to double copper production to approximately 400,000 tonnes a year, is proceeding ahead of schedule.
The project team now anticipates beginning operations of the Phase 2 concentrator plant in Q2 2022, as compared to current guidance of Q3 2022.
Mark Farren, Kamoa Copper’s CEO, stated:
“Construction of the Phase 2 concentrator plant is progressing very well and the project team is working hard to complete the project ahead of schedule, similar to what we did with the Phase 1 plant. Based on the pace of the work completed to date, we now expect to deliver first ore to the Phase 2 ball mills before the end of Q2 2022.”
The Phase 2, 3.8 Mtpa concentrator plant is a carbon copy of the Phase 1 concentrator plant, and is being constructed alongside the Phase 1 plant. All long-lead items of equipment, structural steel, platework and mechanical equipment for the Phase 2 plant already are delivered to site or are en-route. As of the end of September 2021, the Phase 2 plant was more than 50% complete.
“The ahead-of-schedule and on-budget achievements at Kamoa-Kakula stand tall and shine brightly in a COVID-19 world … where mining, infrastructure, and other industrial projects are routinely massively delayed, hindered by supply bottlenecks and predictably subject to significant cost over-runs.
“This outstanding construction progress at our Phase 1 and Phase 2 mines in this challenging environment is a testament to the extraordinary skill and dedication of our ‘United Nations’ of managers, staff and contractors,” said Ivanhoe Founder & Executive Co-Chair Robert Friedland.
“Their careful and diligent planning, and their utilization of all of our inherent advantages, delivered this historic achievement, which the industry and the world can now plainly see has risen to new heights in what a recent industry publication called the ‘Democratic Republic of Copper.'”
“The Congolese mining industry has a very bright future indeed, and the legacy mining companies had better ‘pull up their socks’ … We are just starting … Having raised the bar for construction delivery, Ivanhoe Mines is setting its sights on raising the environmental, social and governance bar for the ultra-low-carbon copper production our world desperately needs for the energy transformation. We have all the pieces to do just that … We have the right team … We have the right partners and the right stakeholders.
“And we have the best copper projects in the world right now.”
Also at the end of September, Kamoa-Kakula had surface ore stockpiles totalling approximately 3.66 million tonnes grading 4.73% copper, containing more than 173,000 tonnes of copper (or 381.4 million pounds of copper). These stockpiles are in place to help ensure a smooth and efficient ramp up of the Phase 2 concentrator to steady-state production during 2022.
As forecast in Ivanhoe’s Kamoa-Kakula’s progress update issued on September 30, the second concentrate filter press began operations on October 3, enabling the Phase 1 plant to produce copper concentrate above design parameters. The second filter allows Kamoa-Kakula’s Phase 1 concentrator to take advantage of the exceptionally high-grade copper ore being processed directly from Kakula’s underground mining operations and surface stockpiles.
“Kamoa-Kakula’s Phase 1 milling and flotation capacity has been demonstrated to be in excess of design parameters,” commented Steve Amos, Kamoa Copper’s Head of Projects.
“As such, the additional filter press enables Kamoa-Kakula to take advantage of the extra mill throughput to produce more copper than the estimated design output of approximately 200,000 tonnes per year. We have a third filter press on order that will be installed as part of the Phase 2 concentrator expansion.”
“The additional filtration capacity also will allow Kamoa-Kakula’s operations team to find the ‘sweet spot’ between copper recoveries and concentrate copper grades.”