Tag Archives: Zijin Mining Group

Kamoa-Kakula copper production kicks off

Ivanhoe Mines has announced the start of copper concentrate production at the Phase 1, 3.8 Mt/y Kamoa-Kakula copper mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, several months ahead of schedule.

First ore was introduced into the concentrator plant on May 20 to perform initial hot commissioning tests on the ball mills and other processing equipment. The initial mill feed grade reached approximately 4% Cu shortly after start-up.

As of May 25, 5-6% Cu ore was being conveyed directly from Kakula’s underground mining operations to the run-of-mine stockpile and the concentrator. Based on extensive test work, the concentrator is expected to produce a very high-grade, clean concentrate grading approximately 57% Cu, with extremely low arsenic levels, the company says.

Robert Friedland, Ivanhoe Mines Co-Chairman, said: “This is a historic moment for Ivanhoe Mines and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Discovering and delivering a copper province of this scale, grade and outstanding environmental, social and governance credentials, ahead of schedule and on budget, is a unicorn in the copper mining business. This accomplishment reflects the outstanding cooperation of thousands of individuals, and all of our joint-venture partners at Kamoa-Kakula.”

He added: “Although this exploration journey started well over two decades ago, it also is noteworthy that the Kakula deposit itself was discovered a little over five years ago, which is remarkable progress by the mining industry’s glacial standards from first drill hole to a new major mining operation.”

The initiation of production puts Ivanhoe on the path to establish Kamoa-Kakula as the second largest copper mining complex in the world, according to Friedland.

“What really excites our geologists is the profound potential to find additional Kamoa-Kakula-like copper discoveries on our massive Western Foreland exploration licences right next door, in an identical geologic setting,” he said.

Co-Chairman, Miles Sun, added: “The inception of Phase 1 is the birth of a copper complex that will benefit generations to come, and we very much look forward to the upcoming phases of expansion and exploration opportunities.

“Huge congratulations to the entire Ivanhoe Mines team and a roaring applause to all the hard-working suppliers and contractors for collectively completing this mammoth undertaking!”

Ivanhoe’s guidance for contained copper in concentrate expected to be produced by the Kamoa-Kakula project for the balance of 2021 assumes a ramp-up from first production in line with published technical disclosures, with contained copper in concentrate output of 80,000-95,000 t.

In April, the Kakula Mine mined 357,000 t of ore grading 5.7% Cu, including 121,000 t grading 8.4% Cu from the mine’s high-grade centre.

Kakula, Ivanhoe says, is projected to be the world’s highest-grade major copper mine, with an initial mining rate of 3.8 Mt/y, ramping up to 7.6 Mt/y in the September quarter of 2022. Phase 1 is expected to produce approximately 200,000 t/y of copper, and phases 1 and 2 combined are forecast to produce approximately 400,000 t/y of copper.

Based on independent benchmarking, the project’s phased expansion scenario to 19 Mt/y would position Kamoa-Kakula as the world’s second-largest copper mining complex, with peak annual copper production of more than 800,000 t.

Given the current copper price environment, Ivanhoe and its partner Zijin are exploring the acceleration of the Kamoa-Kakula Phase 3 concentrator expansion from 7.6 Mt/y to 11.4 Mt/y, which may be fed from expanded mining operations at Kansoko, or new mining areas at Kamoa North (including the Bonanza Zone) and Kakula West.

The Kamoa-Kakula copper project is a joint venture between Ivanhoe Mines (39.6%), Zijin Mining Group (39.6%), Crystal River Global Ltd (0.8%) and the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (20%).

Alongside this announcement, the company confirmed that Kamoa Copper had appointed Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS) CONGO SA, an accredited laboratory service provider, for on-site analytical services. SGS is one of the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification companies. The new assay laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment.

Results for various mine, exploration and processing sample types will be reported using a wide range of analytical techniques that are specifically selected to provide accurate and precise results within the time required to efficiently control concentrator and mine processes.

Process control samples will be analysed using portable X-ray Fluorescence (pXRF) devices with a quick turnaround time for concentrator plant monitoring and control. Metal accounting samples will be analysed by using two simultaneous ICP-OES multi-element instruments. The dual measurement mode of the ICP-OES instrumentation enables the analysis of critical elements such as mercury, arsenic, lead, etc by providing high measurement sensitivity while the combination of two-sample digestion methods (fusion and acid digestion) will cover a wide range of analytic levels, Ivanhoe said.

The high-grade copper samples will be analysed using the classical iodide titration method, which provides good accuracy and precision that is required for the dispatch samples, the company said. Convenient and flexible potentiometric auto titrators provide efficient and accurate results that are fully traceable to international methods and standards.

TLT-Turbo Africa to bring fresh air to Kamoa-Kakula copper project

TLT-Turbo Africa has been awarded the contract for the supply and installation of a turnkey solution for underground ventilation and fumes extraction at the Ivanhoe Mines’ majority-owned Kamoa-Kakula copper project, some 25 km outside of Kolwezi in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The contract was awarded by Kamoa Copper SA, which forms part of the project, a joint venture between Ivanhoe, Zijin Mining Group and the Government of the DRC.

TLT-Turbo Africa is designing, manufacturing and supplying a Bifurcated Axial Flow Fan Station for the extraction of mine fumes as well as auxiliary and booster fans for Kamoa’s underground operation, it said. The company will also oversee the installation of the fans and provide assistance with commissioning. The project is the first of many of strategic importance within the Sub Saharan Africa region that the company is involved in, TLT-Turbo said.

The contract was secured in October, with commissioning due to begin in July. TLT-Turbo Africa was appointed by DRA Projects, which is handling engineering, procurement, and construction management (EPCM) on the project, the company said.

Kamoa Copper SA will develop the new copper mine, which is expected to yield an estimated 6 Mt/y in its first phase alone. The Kakula deposit has been independently ranked as the world’s largest, undeveloped, high-yield, high-grade copper discovery, according to DRA, with a resource measuring 174 Mt at an average grade of 5.62% Cu.

According to TLT-Turbo’s Madeleine Pretorius, the project presents unique challenges from a logistical point of view. The site is remote, and it involves multiple border crossings and often poor road conditions. “This means complicated logistic solutions. TLT-Turbo has the benefit of a broad suite of options to minimise the need for abnormal or complex loads,” she said.

The TLT-Turbo Africa offering and approach positions them as a preferred supplier for ventilation solutions in challenging locations, according to Pretorius. “We provide an energy-efficient solution where power costs are high, and availability can be erratic. Our product is designed for long-term reliability and durability, with simple maintenance requirements and minimal downtime, which is critical for our remote clients.”

Mike van Oerle, Sales Manager at TLT-Turbo Africa, said the company’s approach will provide several benefits to Kamoa’s operations. This includes standardised equipment designed for simple installation and maintenance, which means TLT-Turbo’s fans can be maintained by the client on site, without the need for costly expert inspections. “TLT-Turbo is providing highly-efficient products to meet Kamoa’s interim ventilation and power requirements, with flexibility for future redeployment at an alternative ventilation position.”

Both van Oerle and Pretorius assert TLT-Turbo Africa’s delivery of the scope of work on this specific project speaks to the company’s wider capabilities and expertise. The collaboration with DRA has paved the way for excellence in service delivery, according to them. Pretorius said: “Working with an experienced EPCM company, such as DRA, our project team is able to draw on their unparalleled knowledge of the Sub Saharan African mining environment. Both teams work together to provide solutions that address the challenges experienced by our customers.”

Oerle concluded: “Our ability to understand our customers’ requirements led to a cost-effective solution, focusing on total cost of ownership. Combining this solution with an experienced projects execution team, means that we can ensure Kamoa receives high-quality products and on-time delivery.”