Kamoa-Kakula smelter to be one of the largest, single-line blister-copper flash smelters in the world, and the largest in Africa; on-site copper metal production expected in Q4 2024. Kamoa Copper has awarded the earthworks contract for the Phase 3, 500,000-tonnes-per-annum, direct-to-blister flash smelter; and construction has commenced at the site.
The Kamoa-Kakula smelter will be built adjacent to the Phase 1 and Phase 2 concentrator plants, and is designed to use technology supplied by Metso Outotec and to meet the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) emissions standards. The smelter has been sized to process most of the copper concentrate forecast to be produced by Kamoa-Kakula’s Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3 concentrators.
In late 2021, Kamoa Copper awarded China Nerin Engineering Co., Ltd. (Nerin) of Jiangxi, China, with the basic engineering contract for the planned, direct-to-blister flash smelter. Nerin is an international engineering company with more than 60 years of experience in smelter engineering and construction projects globally. Nerin actively promotes the advancement of smelting technology through its own research and development, and establishing various partnerships with global industry peers, including Metso Outotec.
The smelter, once in operation, is expected to enable Kamoa-Kakula to reduce its C1 cash costs per pound of payable copper produced by approximately 10% to 20%, driven by significantly reduced transportation costs, reducing overall volumes shipped by more than half, as well as more favorable tax treatment, and the recovery and sale of sulphuric acid as a by-product revenue. There is a strong demand and market for sulphuric acid in the Democratic Republic of Congo to recover copper from oxide ores. Copper mines in the region currently import significant volumes of sulphur used in sulphur-burning acid plants to produce sulphuric acid for the treatment of oxide copper ores. The Democratic Republic of Congo also imports sulphuric acid, primarily from Zambia