Overall progress of Ivanhoe Mines Kamoa-Kakula’s first-phase in the DRC, 3.8 Mtpa mining and milling operation (covering mine infrastructure, concentrator plant and surface infrastructure) now is approximately 58% complete, up from 52% last month.
Construction of the project’s first-phase 3.8 Mtpa concentrator plant is advancing rapidly and now is approximately 28% complete. The concentrator plant is expected to be mechanically complete in Q2 2021, with first copper concentrate production scheduled for July 2021.
Civil works for the initial concentrator plant are nearing completion, with approximately 26,000 cubic metres of concrete poured to date. All major construction areas will be handed over to the steel, mechanical, piping and platework (SMPP) contractor imminently.
The final major pieces of equipment − two 80-MVA/220kV electrical transformers − are in transit and expected on site shortly. Construction of the various electrical substations is progressing well.
Structural steel and platework fabrication for the concentrator plant is complete, with the bulk of the material already delivered to site. Piping is progressing according to schedule, with more than 60 kilometres (of a total of 83 kilometres) of piping already delivered. Limited electrical, controls and instrumentation (EC&I) work has started with the installation of cable racking.
Over 2,000 tonnes of steel (of a total of 5,700 tonnes) has been installed. The main focus areas are the conveyor gantries, mill building, reagent storage area, flotation area, and concentrate storage building. Construction has commenced for the plant stores, workshop and water services.
Construction of the tailings dam is progressing well, with the aim to complete most of the earthworks before the rainy season begins later this month. Installation is well advanced for the three tailings lines and the tailings return water line.
The long-lead items for the second 3.8 Mtpa concentrator plant have been ordered and the second phase of the project’s development is officially underway. Requests for tenders for the second-phase earthworks and civil works also have been issued.
Kamoa-Kakula is in detailed discussions with a number of parties with respect to the marketing and smelting of its copper concentrates. Kakula is expected to produce an extremely high grade and clean copper concentrate (containing over 55% copper) that will be highly coveted by copper smelters around the world. Metallurgical test work indicates that the Kakula concentrates contain extremely low arsenic levels by world standards – approximately 0.01%.
In December 2020, Kamoa-Kakula is expected to tie in the 35-kilometre, 220-kilovolt (kV) power line connecting the Western Dispatch substation in Kolwezi to Kamoa-Kakula, and supply the project with reliable and clean hydro-generated electricity from the national grid.
The upgrading work at the 72-megawatt Mwadingusha hydropower plant is nearing completion and electricity from all of Mwadingusha’s six turbines is expected to be integrated into the national power grid in the first quarter of 2021. The work is being conducted by engineering firm Stucky, of Lausanne, Switzerland, under the direction of Ivanhoe Mines and Zijin Mining Group, in conjunction with the DRC’s state-owned power company, La Société Nationale d’Electricité (SNEL).
Contract workers putting the finishing touches on a transmission tower for the 220kV powerline that will transmit hydro-generated electricity from the Western Dispatch substation in Kolwezi to the Kamoa-Kakula Project. Below is a completed section of the powerline with the cables installed.
Phase 1 copper production from the Kakula Mine is scheduled to begin in July 2021. Kakula is projected to be the world’s highest-grade major copper mine, with an initial mining rate of 3.8 Mtpa at an estimated average feed grade of more than 6.0% copper over the first five years of operation.
Phases 1 and 2 combined are forecast to produce approximately 400,000 tonnes of copper per year. Based on independent benchmarking, the project’s phased expansion scenario to 19 Mtpa would position Kamoa-Kakula as the world’s second largest copper mining complex, with peak annual copper production of more than 800,000 tonnes.
Ivanhoe Mines is a Canadian mining company focused on advancing its three principal joint-venture projects in Southern Africa: the development of major new, mechanized, underground mines at the Kamoa-Kakula copper discoveries in the DRC and at the Platreef palladium-platinum-nickel-copper-rhodium-gold discovery in South Africa; and the extensive redevelopment and upgrading of the historic Kipushi zinc-copper-germanium-silver mine, also in the DRC.