Ivanhoe eyes next expansion phase at DRC copper mine

Share this article

Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. [IVN-TSX, IVPAF-OTC] said the first ore has been fed into the Phase 3.0 concentrator at the company’s Kamoa-Kakula Copper mine complex in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), an operation that is currently benefitting from improved power stability.

The company said first ore marks the completion of the Phase 3.0 concentrator, which has been achieved months ahead of schedule and also on budget. First concentrate is expected in early June, while ramp-up to commercial production is targeted for early in the third quarter of 2024.

The Phase 3.0 concentrator increases Kamoa-Kakula’s copper production capacity to more than 600,000 tonnes per year, making Kamoa-Kakula the fourth largest copper mining complex globally.

“Given the outperformance of Kamoa-Kakula’s operations to date, including higher than expected throughput and recoveries from the Phase 1 and Phase 2 concentrators, we are now studying options to boost copper production towards the next goal of 800,000 tonnes annually,’’ the company said.

That would propel Kamoa Kakula towards being one of the two largest copper producers on our planet, the company said.

In addition to the de-bottlenecking of the Phase 3.0 concentrator and increasing recoveries to 95% via our ‘Project 95’ initiative, we are now also studying options to accelerate the Phase 4.0 expansion to target a throughput rate of at least 20 million tonnes annually, the company added.

News of the expansion plan follows reports that Chinese commodity trader CITIC Metal Co. is planning to sell a small portion of its holdings in Ivanhoe via public trades or privately through block trades or a combination of both.

CITIC is Ivanhoe’s largest shareholder, with 314.7 million Class A shares, or a 24.78% interest. The next largest shareholder is another Chinese company Zijin Mining Group, which holds 13%.

In a press release issued through the Shanghai Stock Exchange, CITIC said it has received board approval to sell almost 25.4 million shares, or 2.0% of Ivanhoe’s outstanding capital. If the sale proceeds as planned, CITIC’s holding would be reduced to 22.78%.

Earlier this year, Ivanhoe released its 2024 production guidance for its the Kamoa-Kakula Copper mine complex.

Production guidance is estimated at between 440,000 and 490,000 tonnes of copper in concentrate, following the anticipated completion of the phase 3.0 concentrator during the third quarter of 2024. The company said Kamoa-Kakula produced 393,551 tonnes of copper in concentrate in 2023, a number that was inside the 2023 production guidance rate of 390,000 to 430,000 tonnes, and marking a year-over-year increase of 18%.

Ivanhoe said the Phase 1.0 and Phase 2.0 concentrators produced more than 63,000 tonnes of copper since the start of April, 2024, a significant improvement resulting from improved power stability.

On Monday, Ivanhoe shares edged up 1.65% or $0.32 to $19.71. The shares trade in a 52-week range of $21.32 and $9.89.

Share this article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *