Ivanhoe Mines (TSX: IVN; US-OTCQX: IVPAF) is greenlighting a de-bottlenecking plan for its Kamoa-Kakula copper operation within the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The plan includes growing the mixed design processing capability of the Part 1 and Part 2 concentrator vegetation by roughly 21% to 9.2 million tonnes of ore per 12 months, up from 7.6 million tonnes per 12 months, as soon as steady-state manufacturing is achieved at each concentrators.
Upon completion of the de-bottlenecking initiative, annual copper output at Kamoa-Kakula’s Part 1 and Part 2 vegetation is anticipated to succeed in 450,000 tonnes by the second quarter of 2023 ─ positioning Kamoa-Kakula because the world’s fourth largest copper producer.
The de-bottlenecking venture has an estimated price of roughly US$50 million and is anticipated to take about 12 months to finish.
“Kamoa-Kakula is blessed with an unbelievable endowment of high-grade copper sources. On condition that our underground mine growth and ore manufacturing are each progressing effectively forward of schedule, the plant growth will enable the operations crew to course of considerably extra high-grade copper ore straight from the Kakula mine within the years forward,” Mark Farren, CEO of Ivanhoe’s Kamoa Copper unit, said in a information launch.
“Our orebody has an enormous benefit in permitting us to adapt our mining cut-off to mine bigger tonnages very effectively, whereas sustaining grades above a desired stage. The growth additionally gives the crew with the pliability to make the most of our floor stockpiles, for which the mining is already paid for, that totalled greater than 4.4 million tonnes grading 4.61% copper on the finish of January,” he stated.
Ivanhoe has additionally confirmed that building of Kamoa-Kakula’s Part 2, 3.8 million-tonne-per-year concentrator plant is sort of full, with early-stage commissioning actions now underway. Scorching commissioning of the concentrator with first ore and preliminary copper focus manufacturing are each on monitor for April 2022.
Engineering and early works for the Part 3 growth, together with a brand new field lower and twin declines to entry new mining areas, can also be progressing shortly. A 3rd, considerably bigger concentrator is being designed and is anticipated to commissioned within the fourth quarter of 2024.
An up to date prefeasibility research, together with the Part 3 growth, is anticipated within the third quarter of 2022. Additionally underway are early works on a direct-to-blister flash smelter at Kamoa-Kakula that can incorporate modern know-how equipped by Metso Outotec of Finland, and have a nameplate capability of 500,000 tonnes a 12 months of roughly 99%-pure blister copper.
The Part 1 concentrator is presently working at a throughput that’s in extra of its 3.8 million-tonne-per-year design capability by greater than 22%, with 112% of design throughput achieved in January. Copper recoveries of above 87% are also constantly being achieved which are in extra of design restoration of 85.6%.
Nevertheless, regardless of the Part 1 concentrator incurring vital downtime for crucial tie ins and adjustments required for the commissioning of the Part 2 concentrator, the copper in focus produced in January nonetheless totaled 18,824 tonnes ─ virtually the identical as December’s document of 18,853 tonnes.
“After efficiently working the Part 1 concentrator for greater than eight months, we’ve recognized a variety of comparatively minor modifications to the concentrator that ought to improve ore throughput from the present design of 475 tonnes per hour to 580 tonnes per hour,” defined Steve Amos, Ivanhoe Mines’ head of initiatives within the DRC.
In response to Amos, modifications made by means of the de-bottlenecking initiative “will enable the crew to constantly function the concentrator plant on the elevated throughput with out compromising plant availability, copper restoration or copper focus grade.”
Final 12 months, the Kamoa-Kakula venture outputted more than 100,000 tonnes of copper concentrate, exceeding the higher finish of Ivanhoe’s annual manufacturing steering. This 12 months, the corporate has set its steering at between 290,000 and 340,000 tonnes.