Ivanhoe Mines Co-Chairs Robert Friedland and Yufeng “Miles” Sun are have announced that hot commissioning and ramp-up of Kamoa-Kakula’s Phase 1, 3.8 Mtpa concentrator plant is progressing well and approaching nameplate steady-state-design performance.
During August, the plant achieved an average milling rate of more than 9,000 tonnes per day at an average feed grade of more than 6.0% copper. On August 29, the Phase 1 concentrator plant produced in excess of 600 tonnes of copper in filtered concentrate, which is the plant’s steady-state-design daily production rate.
During August, the concentrator plant produced concentrate containing 14,815 tonnes of copper. As of August 31, a total of 36,712 tonnes of copper had been produced year-to-date for delivery to either the Lualaba Copper Smelter near Kolwezi, or to international markets. All concentrate produced to date has been loaded onto trucks (either bulk for the Lualaba Smelter or in bags for international markets) and the concentrate backlog at the mine site has been cleared.
Steve Amos, Kamoa Copper’s Head of Projects, commented:
“The hot commissioning and ramp-up of the Phase 1 concentrator plant is going very well, with no significant issues encountered to date. Fast tracking of an additional concentrate filter will enable us to produce more concentrate and take advantage of the exceptional ore grades coming from the Kakula Mine, as well as any additional milling throughput in excess of design capacity. A third concentrate filter is being procured and will be incorporated into the Phase 2 plant.”
Copper recoveries improved to an average of 83% during August, with recoveries in excess of 86% achieved on multiple occasions. The Phase 1, steady-state-design copper recovery is approximately 86%.
Ivanhoe’s production guidance for contained copper in concentrate at Kamoa-Kakula in 2021 is 80,000 to 95,000 tonnes. The figures are on a 100%-project basis and metal reported in concentrate is prior to refining losses or deductions associated with smelter terms. The guidance assumes ramp-up from first production continues in line with published technical disclosures.
Daily concentrate grades in excess of the steady-state-design grade of approximately 57% copper also have been achieved on several occasions, with the monthly average exceeding 48% copper. The current focus of the commissioning team is on balancing and optimizing the flotation and regrind milling areas. This work is expected to further improve the consistency of concentrate grade and copper recoveries.
Commissioning and operation of the concentrator plant’s regrind mills is well underway. The regrind mills are the final pieces of equipment to be commissioned in the Phase 1 concentrator.
Kamoa-Kakula is fast tracking the installation of an additional concentrate filter, which already has been delivered to the mine site, to be able to take advantage of copper feed grades and milling rates in excess of design parameters. The additional concentrate filter is expected to be installed by the end of October 2021, enabling the Phase 1 concentrator to produce more copper than its design capacity of approximately 200,000 tonnes per year.