Robert Friedland and Yufeng “Miles” Sun, Co-Chairs of Ivanhoe Mines (TSX: IVN) (OTCQX: IVPAF), are happy to announce that the Kamoa-Kakula Mining Complex in the Democratic Republic of Congo set a new monthly production record in May, producing 29,800 tonnes of copper in concentrate.
Despite planned disruptions during the month, Kamoa Copper set a new monthly output record. These planned outages included two days of scheduled maintenance on the Phase 1 plant, which included relining the primary ball mill, and the successful commissioning of the third Larox filter press from Metso Outotec of Espoo, Finland, on May 9, allowing Kamoa Copper to take advantage of the increased ore throughput rates at the front-end of the Phase 1 and Phase 2 plants.
During the month, Kamoa-Kakula processed 660,000 tonnes of ore at an average feed grade of 5.5 percent copper, putting the Phase 1 and Phase 2 concentrator units on track to process about 8 million tonnes of ore annually. As Phase 2 reaches steady-state design capacity, average feed grades are expected to trend toward long-term estimates. The Phase 1 3.8-million-tonne-per-annum concentrator facility has routinely exceeded design ore throughput by about 10% to 15% over the last seven months.
On April 7, 2022, the Kamoa-Kakula Phase 2 3.8 million-tonne-per-annum concentrator plant began commercial production. On March 21, 2022, the first ore was fed into the Phase 2 milling circuit, and the first copper concentrate was generated four months ahead of the planned development timeline. The Phase 2 facility is now routinely operating at throughputs and recoveries that are comparable to the Phase 1 unit.
The rapid ramp-up of the Phase 2 concentrator plant, according to Kamoa Copper management, will allow Kamoa-Kakula to meet the top end of its 2022 copper production projection of 290,000 to 340,000 tonnes.
By the second quarter of 2023, the current Phase 1 and 2 concentrators will have been de-bottlenecked and will be working at a combined throughput of 9.2 million tonnes of ore per year, bringing Kamoa-annual Kakula’s copper production to more than 450,000 tonnes. Kamoa Copper will be the world’s fourth-largest copper producer at this rate.
In May, Kamoa-Phase Kakula’s 1 and Phase 2 operations milled a total of 660,000 tonnes of ore, resulting in an annualized run rate of about 8 million tonnes.