Ivanhoe Mines responds to reports of DRC trucker strike

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Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. [TSX-IVN, OTC-IVPAF] has responded to media reports pertaining to the status of trucking shipments in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in relation to a third-party labour dispute.

The company said operations at the Kamoa-Kakula Copper mine complex have continued as normal, and as of November 9, 2023, major shipments took place from the mine gate, with further shipments taking place today (Friday) and onward.

“Ivanhoe Mines’ management is working pro-actively with the DRC government and local authorities to mitigate any potential interim effects on the outbound shipping, but does not anticipate any material impact on Kamoa-Kakula’s operations.

Ivanhoe was responding to a report that a trucker strike in the DRC is blocking exports of copper and cobalt mined by producers including Glencore Plc and China’s CMOC Group. Published reports said the drivers have refused to transport the metals, which are key to the global green-energy transition, from the mining hub of Kolwezi since last week.

They are demanding an additional $700 per journey as danger pay, according to a Bloomberg report that was published in a Scotiabank newsletter. Almost all the material is trucked by road from south-eastern Congo to Zambia, destined for ports in South Africa, Tanzania and Mozambique. Bloomberg reported that the strike by drivers, who are mainly from Zambia and Tanzania, is impacting shipments from major mines operated by companies such as Glencore, CMOC and Ivanhoe Mines.

Ivanhoe recently released an updated current and future greenhouse gas (GHG) emission assessment of the Kamoa-Kakula Copper mine complex in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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 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.

“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.

Ivanhoe Mines shares eased 0.88% or $0.09 to $10.13 on Friday. The shares trade in a 52-week range of $14.01 and $9.88.

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