Ivanhoe Mines started exploring in the Democratic Republic of Congo over 24 years ago. Following the discovery of Kamoa in 2009 and the landmark discovery of Kakula in 2016, it has taken the company little over five years to develop the Kamoa Copper Mining Complex into the world’s next great copper producer.

Through phased expansions, the Kamoa Copper Mining Complex is positioned to soon become one of the world’s largest copper producers.

Kamoa Copper S.A. is the operator of the Kamoa Copper Mining Complex, and is a joint venture between Canadian mining company Ivanhoe Mines (which indirectly holds 39.6%), Chinese multinational mining company Zijin Mining Group (which indirectly holds 39.6%) and private Hong Kong-based company Crystal River Global Limited (which indirectly holds 0.8%). The Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo owns the remaining shareholding of the company (20%).

Located in the DRC’s Lualaba Province, near the town of Kolwezi, on the Central African Copperbelt, Ivanhoe Mines’ DRC operating subsidiary Kamoa Copper produced its first copper on 25 May 2021.

Through phased expansions, the Kamoa Copper Mining Complex is positioned to become one of the world’s largest copper producers.

Kamoa’s mines are powered by clean, renewable hydro-generated electricity and will be among the world’s lowest greenhouse gas emitters per unit of metal produced once it reaches a steady state of production.

Kamoa Copper Ownership Structure

Kamoa Copper S.A. is the operator of the Kamoa Copper Mining Complex, and is a joint venture between Canadian mining company Ivanhoe Mines (which indirectly holds 39.6%), Chinese multinational mining company Zijin Mining Group (which indirectly holds 39.6%) and private Hong Kong-based company Crystal River Global Limited (which indirectly holds 0.8%). The Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo owns the remaining shareholding of the company (20%).

Vision, Mission and Values

Our Vision

To be a tier one copper producer, creating prosperity for all our stakeholders.

Our Mission

  • Create one of the largest, lowest cost copper mining complexes in the world.
  • Contribute to the sustainable transformation of the DRC & its people.
  • Pioneer a new standard for environmentally and socially responsible mining in the DRC.
  • Produce green copper to fuel low-carbon technological advancement.

Our Values

Our three principal values reflect and guide our business decisions. They link our business activities to our responsibilities; our sustainability strategy; and they help shape our company growth as we prepare for the future.

Sustainable Growth

Together with our shareholders, our people and our host communities – we create positive change safely, responsibly and with integrity.

United in Diversity

To embrace our differences and create an organisational culture rooted in respect, engagement and inclusivity – where the sum is greater than the parts.

To Thrive

In an environment that promotes development, health, safety and wellbeing.



Kamoa Copper achieved several milestones in 2021 both before and after the first production of copper concentrate on 25 May 2021 at its Kakula Mine.

26 April 2021

Kamoa Copper secures clean, renewable hydroelectric power

  • Kamoa Copper’s sister company, Ivanhoe Mines Energy DRC, signed a second public-private partnership with La Société Nationale d’Electricité (SNEL) to upgrade Turbine 5 at the existing Inga II hydropower facility on the Congo River. Turbine 5 is one of four remaining turbines (8 in total) that is awaiting upgrade. Once upgraded, Turbine 5 is estimated to produce 162 MW of renewable hydropower.
  • The upgrading of six new turbines at the Mwadingusha hydropower plant, the first public-private partnership between Ivanhoe Mines Energy DRC and SNEL is expected to deliver approximately 78 MW of electricity to the national electrical grid upon completion, to provide power for Kamoa Copper’s initial two phases of production.
  • Kamoa Copper will be provided with priority access to a combined 240 MW of clean, renewable electricity from the upgraded turbines at the Mwadingusha and Inga II hydropower plants.

25 May 2021

Kamoa Copper produces first copper concentrate

  • Kamoa Copper started copper concentrate production on 25 May 2021, several months ahead of schedule.
  • On that date, copper ore with grades between 5% and 6% was being conveyed directly from Kakula’s underground mining operations to the run-of-mine stockpile and the concentrator.
  • Based on extensive test work the concentrator is expected to produce a very high-grade, clean concentrate grading approximately 57% copper, with extremely low arsenic levels.

31 May 2021

Kamoa Copper enters agreement with the Lualaba Copper Smelter

  • Kamoa Copper signed a 10-year agreement with the Lualaba Copper Smelter, located outside the town of Kolwezi, to produce 99% blister copper from a portion of the copper concentrates produced at the Kakula Concentrator.
  • Kamoa Copper delivered its first copper concentrates to the smelter on 1 June 2021.
  • The smelter, which began operations in early 2020, will treat up to 150,000 wet metric tonnes of Kamoa’s copper concentrate production at the Kakula Concentrator.

2 June 2021

Kamoa Copper’s COVID-19 vaccination programme

  • Kamoa Copper secured an initial supply of 1,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine for Kamoa Copper’s employees, contractors and DRC residents who live in the mine’s host communities.
  • The booster supply of 1,000 doses arrived shortly after and will be administered 8 to 12 weeks after the first injection. A certificate of vaccination will be issued to those who have received two doses.
  • The Kamoa COVID-19 hospital continues to treat patients when required.
  • Construction continues on the expansion and upgrade of the primary healthcare wing of the Kamoa hospital.

9 June 2021

Kamoa Copper signs Phase 1 off-take agreements

  • Kamoa Copper has signed copper concentrate and blister copper offtake agreements for 100% of its Phase 1 copper output, which is projected to be approximately 200,000 tonnes per annum of contained copper.
  • Metals trader and investor CITIC Metal (part of the Chinese state-owned conglomerate CITIC Group) and Hong Kong-based Gold Mountains International Mining Company, a subsidiary of China’s Zijin Mining, which owns a 39.6% stake in Kamoa Copper, signed offtake agreements for 50% each of Kamoa Copper’s Phase 1 copper products. The remaining 50% of products will go to a multiple of other partners.
  • The copper products include clean, high-grade 57% copper concentrate from the Kakula Concentrator and 99% blister copper ingots from the Lualaba Copper Smelter.

1 July 2021

Kamoa Copper Phase 1 concentrator plant achieves commercial production

  • Kamoa Copper’s Phase 1, 3.8 million-tonne-per-annum concentrator plant was deemed to have reached commercial production on July 1, 2021, after achieving a milling rate in excess of 80% of design capacity and recoveries very close to 70% for a continuous, seven-day period.
  • Copper production exceeded 500 tonnes per day toward the end of July, nearing the Phase 1 steady-state design capacity of approximately 550 tonnes per day, or 200,000 tonnes per year.

17 July 2021

Kamoa Copper begins exporting copper concentrate internationally

  • The first truckloads of copper concentrate destined for smelters outside of the DRC departed from the mine site on July 17, 2021.
  • The copper concentrate for export is being transported in bags, with each bag containing approximately two tonnes of concentrate.
  • The concentrate is exported internationally via the port of Durban, South Africa.

18 November 2021

Kamoa Copper awards contract for 500,000 tpa direct-to-blister copper smelter.

  • Kamoa Copper awarded the basic engineering contract for the planned direct-to-blister copper smelter to China-based China Nerin Engineering
  • The 500,000 tpa smelter is planned to be built adjacent to the Kamoa Copper Phase 1 and 2 concentrator plants.
  • The smelter is expected to be built concurrently with the project’s Phase 3 mine and concentrator expansion, and the upgrading of turbine 5 at the Inga II hydropower complex.
  • The smelter is projected to be one of the largest, single-line blister-copper flash smelters in the world, and the largest in Africa.

History and Timelines

The Kamoa Copper Mining Complex is comprised of a series of copper deposits, which were formed 500 million years ago and were subsequently hidden under a thin layer of Kalahari sand for approximately ten million years. The copper deposits were first identified by the application of modern exploration techniques over two decades ago, and delineated since by a significant drill programme of over 400,000 metres and counting.

Kamoa Copper forms part of a previously unrecognised western extension of the famous Central African Copperbelt, and today is recognised as the world’s fourth largest copper discovery and the largest copper discovery ever on the African continent.

The initial Kamoa discovery was the largest copper discovery made in the DRC since the early 1900’s.

Ivanplats, through its wholly owned subsidiary African Minerals (Barbados) Limited (AMBL), became active in the Democratic Republic of Congo.


AMBL became the registered holder of exploration permits covering an existing land position of approximately 14,000 square kilometres.


More than 70 areas of interest were identified through the use of aeromagnetic and radiometric airborne geophysical methods and surface geochemical sampling.


Initial reverse circulation at Kamoa and Makalu discovered stratiform copper mineralisation at a different stratigraphic position than was typical for the Congolese Copperbelt.


Follow-up reverse-circulation and diamond drilling uncovered high grades and significant widths of stratiform copper mineralisation in an area Copperbelt geologists previously thought to be barren.

MID 2008

Announcement of the Kamoa discovery was made through a collaborative effort of a global team of exceptionally talented geologists, mine finders and financiers.

APRIL 2009

DRC government grants mining licences for the Kamoa Project, covering a total 400 square kilometres, valid for 30 years, renewable at 15-year intervals.


An independent mineral resource estimate ranks Kamoa as Africa’s largest, high-grade copper discovery and the world’s largest undeveloped high-grade copper discovery.


Ivanplats changes name to Ivanhoe Mines.


Construction begins on Kamoa copper mine box cut.

JULY 2014

Ivanhoe Mines and China-based Zijin Mining Group sign landmark agreement to co-develop Kamoa copper discovery.

MAY 2015

Ivanhoe Mines and Zijin Mining Group make second major copper discovery – Kakula.


Major drilling programme initiated at Kakula copper discovery.

MAY 2016

Wood Mackenzie independently demonstrates Kamoa Copper as the largest copper discovery ever made in the history of mining on the African continent.


DRC Government receives additional 15% interest in the Kamoa Copper, increasing its total stake in the project to 20%.


Independent Preliminary Economic Assessment on Kakula released.


Kakula West deposit discovered.

MARCH 2017

Kakula box-cut development completed.


Development of twin declines at Kakula begins.


Exploration drilling intersects Kamoa North Bonanza Zone.


Kamoa’s Prefeasibility Study published, and the extended Kamoa Copper Preliminary Economic Assessment updated.


Independent Integrated Development Plan for the Kamoa Copper Complex is released, which includes a Definitive Feasibility Study for the first Kakula Mine.


Kamoa Copper enters a new era of copper production from the first 3.8 Mtpa mine at Kakula.

MAY 2021

Kamoa Copper Phase 1 concentrator plant achieves commercial production.

JULY 2021

Kamoa Copper awards contract for 500,000 tpa direct-to-blister copper smelter.


Kamoa Copper approves de-bottlenecking plan to increase the combined design processing capacity of the Phase 1 and Phase 2 concentrator plants to 9.2 Mtpa of ore.


Kamoa Copper commissions Phase 2 concentrator plant four months ahead of original development schedule.

MARCH 2022