Democratic Republic of Congo:
“We’re not just investing in a new mine, roads, hydro-power plants, power lines and other important infrastructure, we’re investing in good-paying jobs and new opportunities for people who live in the DRC. And with our focus on skills training and apprenticeships for young Congolese, we’re helping build the DRC’s next generation of skilled tradespeople.”
Chief Executive Officer
Kamoa Copper SA.
Ivanhoe Mines Co-Chairs Robert Friedland and Yufeng “Miles” Sun on Monday announced that underground development at the Kakula Copper Mine continues to advance ahead of schedule and that more than eight kilometres of underground development now is completed, which is 1.7 kilometres ahead of plan. This month, the mining team is on pace to set a new monthly development record of 1,310 metres of advancement ─ 380 metres ahead of plan for the month.
The underground development work at Kakula is being performed by mining crews operating large-capacity, semi-autonomous mining equipment, such as jumbo drilling rigs and 50-tonne trucks.
Mine access drives 1 and 2 − interconnected, parallel tunnels being developed from Kakula’s main northern declines that will provide access to Kakula’s high-grade ore zones − continue to make excellent progress. The two south perimeter drives – being developed from Kakula southern decline – also are progressing ahead of schedule and have each been advanced more than 250 metres from the bottom of the decline.
The development ore is being transported to surface and stored on pre-production stockpiles, which are expected to grow to approximately 1.5 million tonnes of high-grade ore and an additional 700,000 tonnes of material grading approximately 1% to 3% copper prior to the start of initial production in Q3 2021.
Based on the results of the February 2019 Kakula pre-feasibility study, Kakula’s average feed grade over the first five years of operations is projected to be 6.8% copper, and 5.5% copper on average over a 25-year mine life.
In parallel with the construction of Kamoa-Kakula’s phase 1 Kakula Mine, work is progressing on the independent Kakula definitive feasibility study (DFS) and an updated Integrated Development Plan for the entire Kamoa-Kakula mining complex, which is expected to be issued in mid-2020. The Kakula DFS will provide an increased level of accuracy for the project economics for the initial phase of mine development at Kakula. The Integrated Development Plan will include details on the planned expansion phases for the greater Kamoa-Kakula mining complex, incorporating updates for mineral resources, production rates and economic analysis.
Kakula’s original 3.0 million-tonne-per-annum (Mtpa) first processing plant module has already been redesigned during the basic engineering phase to a nameplate capacity of 3.8 Mtpa. Purchase orders have been placed for all major long-lead time mechanical equipment, plant earthworks is complete, and plant civil works are advancing rapidly. The contract for the SMPP (structural, mechanical, piping and platework) supply and erection portion of the plant construction has been awarded and steel fabrication is underway. The capital cost estimate related to the construction of the mining infrastructure (underground and surface), processing plant and surface infrastructure has been estimated to a basic engineering level of accuracy and is being used as the control budget estimate for the project.
“We’re not just investing in a new mine, roads, hydro-power plants, power lines and other important infrastructure, we’re investing in good-paying jobs and new opportunities for people who live in the DRC. And with our focus on skills training and apprenticeships for young Congolese, we’re helping build the DRC’s next generation of skilled tradespeople,” said Mark Farren, Chief Executive Officer, Kamoa Copper SA.
“These vast Kamoa and Kakula discoveries are the type of world-scale mineral systems needed to supply the copper for the electrification of the global economy, to usher in the era of the electric car, and the electric everything, in order to reduce our planet’s consumption of hydrocarbons,” Mr. Friedland said.
“In a world deeply concerned with the unabated generation of global warming gases throughout the supply chain, many people of influence in the world’s financial community are becoming aware of the undeniable fact that Copper is the Greenest of the green metals,” he added. “Given the challenges of global environmental priorities, and the trend of urbanization that emerging economies throughout Africa share with many nations, copper is definitely the most important metal of our time.”
Kamoa-Kakula is unique as it combines ultra-high copper grades in thick, shallow and relatively flat-lying deposits ─ allowing for large-scale, highly-productive, mechanized underground mining operation. The ultra-high copper grades and underground mines mean that Kamoa-Kakula will have a small surface footprint and will use a fraction of the power, water and consumables ─ and produce far less tailings ─ than any comparable large, low-grade, open-pit porphyry copper mine currently in operation elsewhere in the world.