Ivanhoe eyes 46% drop in carbon emissions at DRC copper mine

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Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. [TSX-IVN, OTC-IVPAF] has released an updated current and future greenhouse gas (GHG) emission assessment of the Kamoa-Kakula Copper mine complex in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The company said the assessment confirms that Kamoa-Kakula is the market-leading major copper producer in terms of GHG emissions. This is partially due to the incredibly high-grade orebodies at Kamoa-Kakula with ore milled at an average grade of 5.5% in 2022, roughly ten times higher than the estimated average copper head grade globally of 0.6%.

The company said assessment indicates that Kamoa-Kakula carbon emissions per unit of copper (Scope 1, 2 and 3) are set to reduce by 46% following completion of a 500,000 tonne-per-annum, on-site smelter from the fourth quarter of 2024.

The company also said it is pleased to report that the refurbishment of Turbine #5 at the Inga 11 hydroelectric facility is approximately 50% complete and is advancing on budget and on schedule. Turbine 5 will generate 178 MW of clean, hydroelectric power into the DRC grid following completion in the fourth quarter of 2024.

In addition, Ivanhoe Mines has appointed independent consulting firm BDO Global of Zaventem, Belgium, to assist with shaping the company’s decarbonisation strategy and pathway to net-zero emissions.

“The world is waking up to the fact that copper is the undisputed metal of electrification, with even conservative forecasts predicting that demand will double in size by 2035, based on massive requirements from renewable energy generation, grid-scale transmission and storage infrastructure, and the electrification of mass transportation,’’ said Ivanhoe Mines Executive Co-Chair Robert Friedland.

“We have said it before – there will absolutely be no energy transition to ‘net-zero’ without the transformational increase in the amount of primary copper produced by the mining industry,” Friedland said. “However, the inhabitants of our planet are also demanding that mining companies work to limit greenhouse gas emissions and safeguard the environment,’’ he said.

“The achievements at Kamoa-Kakula demonstrate that mining can indeed be re-invented to sustainably provide that metal that we so desperately need, without compounding the problem of global warming and in harmony with our employees, local communities and government partners and stakeholders.’’

The Kamoa-Kakula Copper Project is a joint venture between Ivanhoe Mines (39.6%), China’s Zijin Mining Group (39.6%), Crystal River Global Ltd. (0.8%), and the DRC government (20%). It already ranks among the world’s biggest copper mines, with peak annual production expected to exceed 700,000 tonnes.

On Thursday, Ivanhoe shares were unchanged at $10.06. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of $14.01 and $9.35.

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