Kakula is expected to begin production in early 2021

Excellent progress is being made in the construction of the Kakula copper mine – the stage one, 6 Mtpa operation – on the tier-one Kamoa-Kakula project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Democratic Republic of Congo – Located approximately 25 km west of the mining centre of Kolwezi in the DRC, Kamoa-Kakula is a joint venture between Ivanhoe Mines (39.6%), Zijin Mining (39.6%), Crystal River Global (0.8%) and the DRC government (20%). Ivanhoe Mines and Zijin Mining are co-funding development of Kamoa-Kakula.

On April 25, 2019 Ivanhoe announced that China-based CITIC Metal agreed to invest an additional US$459 million in Ivanhoe Mines by way of a private placement at C$3.98 per share. Since that announcement, the pace of underground mine development has accelerated and the first access drives are approaching Kakula’s initial high-grade ore.

In addition, Ivanhoe Mines and its joint-venture partner Zijin Mining have commenced earthworks for the surface processing plant and have issued tenders for the long-lead mining and processing equipment.

Initial copper concentrate production from the Kakula mine currently is scheduled for the third quarter of 2021.

CITIC Metal’s US$459 million investment, expected to close no later than 7 September 2019, will be its second major financing in less than a year, bringing its total investment in Ivanhoe to approximately US$1 billion.

On May 15, 2019, Zijin Mining exercised its anti-dilution rights, which will generate additional proceeds for Ivanhoe of US$50 million, to be received at the same time as the CITIC Metal funds.

The combined proceeds of more than US$509 million from CITIC Metal and Zijin Mining positions Ivanhoe Mines to fully finance its share of capital costs required to bring the Kakula mine into commercial production.

The initial, five-year, detailed mine design has been finalised and production scheduling is in progress. The full, detailed mine design will be included in the independent definitive feasibility study that is expected to be published early next year.

“With the initial mine development of Kakula soon to be fully financed, we now are focused on rapidly advancing the construction of surface infrastructure and the processing plant, to match the accelerating pace of development of the underground mine workings and to transform Kakula into one of the world’s greatest copper mines. The shallow, thick, high-grade nature of the orebody will allow us to ramp up production quickly,” says Ivanhoe Mines chairman Friedland.

Tenders for processing equipment issued

Following the release of its independent pre-feasibility study (PFS) for the 6 Mtp Kakula mine in February, the detailed engineering work being undertaken by DRA Global has progressed very well and is expected to be completed in August.

The contract includes the engineering and design associated with all underground mining infrastructure, the concentrator plant and all supporting surface infrastructure. This engineering work is running in parallel with an independent definitive feasibility study (DFS) that is expected to be completed early next year. An agreed, detailed budget, and construction and implementation plan is being finalised with Zijin Mining. The project also will be further optimised and adjusted based on the development progress of the project and on the results of the DFS.

On May 22, 2019, the project’s construction team commenced breaking ground for the surface processing plant, marking the start of the concentrator construction. The Kakula concentrator will be constructed in a phased approach with two 3 Mtpa modules, as the mining operations ramp up to a full ore-throughput rate of 6 Mtpa. Kakula is expected to produce a very-high-grade copper concentrate in excess of 55% copper, with extremely low arsenic levels.

The processing plant flow diagrams, process control descriptions, and processing equipment lists have been completed and piping and instrumentation diagrams are being finalized. Tenders for long-lead items such as cone crushers, ball mills, thickeners, high-pressure grinding rolls, flotation cells, regrind mills, concentrate filter and low entrainment flotation cells, have been issued to the market and bids have been received. The Kamoa-Kakula project team in conjunction with DRA is in the process of adjudicating the tenders. Orders are expected to be placed shortly.

In addition, the tender for the plant civil works has been issued. All bids have been received and are under adjudication. Tenders for smaller equipment for the processing plant such as agitators and samplers have been issued to the market.

Kamoa-Kakula surpasses 14.5 million hours worked without a lost-time injury

Earlier in June, the Kamoa-Kakula project achieved a total of more than 14.5 million work hours free of lost-time injuries. It has been approximately seven years since the last lost-time injury occurred at the project. This outstanding achievement reflects the dedication to a safety-focused culture of the entire Kamoa-Kakula exploration and development teams.