KOLWEZI, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO, 09 SEPTEMBER 2021– In an operational update regarding Kamoa Copper, Steve Amos, Kamoa’s Head of Projects, announced that “the hot commissioning and ramp-up of the Kakula Phase 1, 3.8 million-tonne-per-annum (Mtpa) concentrator plant is approaching steady-state-design performance”, and that the installation of an additional concentrate filter expected by the end of October 2021, will further boost copper production.
Mr. Amos further explained, “the 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.” By the end of October 2021, the additional concentrate filter should be installed, allowing the Phase 1 concentrator to produce more copper than its design capacity of 200,000 tonnes per year.
All concentrate generated by the Phase 1 Concentrator plant to date, has been loaded onto trucks, either in bulk for delivery to the Lualaba Copper Smelter, or in bags for international export, and the concentrate backlog at the mine site has been cleared.
The good news doesn’t stop there. Kamoa Copper’s surface stockpiles continue to grow, which means more copper can be produced. Stockpiles currently contain approximately 3.59 million tonnes of high-grade and medium-grade ore with a blended average copper content of 4.77%. At the end of July 2021, contained copper in surface stockpiles totalled more than 171,000 tonnes.
During the month of August, 14,815 tonnes of copper was produced, bringing the year-to-date production to more than 36,700 tonnes. 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 during the same period. Copper recoveries improved to an average of 83%, with recoveries exceeding 86% on several occasions.
Additionally, the construction of the second 3.8-Mtpa concentrator plant (Phase 2) is progressing smoothly and is currently 44% complete (still on schedule to be completed in the third quarter of 2022). Engineering, procurement operations and civil construction work are nearing completion, and the focus will slowly shift towards structural steel erection, platework and equipment installation.
In early August, Kamoa Copper’s energy company, Ivanhoe Mines Energy DRC, stated that it has extended its existing financing agreement with SNEL, the state-owned power utility of the Democratic Republic of Congo, to upgrade turbine 5 at the Inga II hydropower complex. Rehabilitation scoping work and technical visits have been carried out since June 2021. Turbine 5 at Inga II is expected to generate 162 MW of renewable hydropower, providing enough electricity for future expansions at the Kamoa Copper Complex and associated smelter. The Mwadingusha hydropower plant’s six new turbines have now been linked to the national electrical grid.
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