When the eagerly anticipated PFS for the development of the world-class Kakula copper mine in the DRC – operated by Ivanhoe Mines – was released in February 2019, it outlined the exciting development plan for what will become the world’s second largest copper mine.
The mine incorporates the Kakula West discovery area saddled between the Kakula and the Kamoa orebodies. Once the entire Kamoa-Kakula project is in production, it will produce more than 700 000 t of copper per annum.
This article first appeared in Mining Elites in Africa 2020
In 2019, Ivanhoe announced a series of positive announcements that show why Kamoa-Kakula is such a lucrative project for shareholders, for global copper supply demand and the DRC’s economy.
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The project is a joint venture between Ivanhoe Mines, Zijin Mining, Crystal River Global and the DRC government.
In June 2019, Ivanhoe announced that it was making excellent progress on the construction of the Kakula copper mine – the stage one, 6 Mtpa operation – of the project.
At the time, the company announced that it had commenced earthworks for the surface processing plant and issued tenders for the long-lead mining and processing equipment.
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In September 2019, Ivanhoe reported that that underground development at the Kakula copper mine now has reached the high-grade ore within the deposit.
Grades of approximately 4% copper have been returned from sampling, and grades are expected to significantly increase as the development crews advance the drifts toward the deposit’s central mining zones that are in excess of 8% copper.
The project currently is on schedule to produce first copper concentrate in Q3, 2021, with construction of the Kakula mine continuing at a rapid pace. Underground development is being performed by mining crews operating large-capacity, semi-autonomous mining equipment, such as jumbo drilling rigs, load haul dumpers and 50 t trucks.
Comments from the judges
“Very exciting project, although still early stage,” Andrew van Zyl
“Development of a very large, modern mine in a challenging environment (DRC!!),” Jim Pooley