Ivanhoe Mines: Kamoa-Kakula sets production record in DRC
Ivanhoe mines achieved a production record in February at the Kamoa-Kakula Copper Project in the DRC. The 339,000 tonnes mined and stockpiled in February had an average ore grading of 5.5%; this included 47,300 tonnes grading 4.62% copper from the Kansoko Mine, establishing a new monthly production record at Kansoko. The overall tonnage also included 107,000 tonnes grading 9.01% copper from the high-grade centre of the Kakula Mine.
The project’s pre-production surface stockpiles now contain approximately 2.16 million tonnes of high-grade and medium-grade ore at an estimated blended average of 4.44% copper. Contained copper in the stockpiles increased by approximately 19,000 tonnes in February – a 19.2% increase over January’s production – to a cumulative total of more than 95,000 tonnes (the current copper price is approximately $9,100 a tonne).
Kamoa-Kakula is on track to have more than three million tonnes of high-grade and medium-grade ore stockpiled on surface, holding more than 125,000 tonnes of contained copper, prior to the planned start of processing in July 2021.
Ivanhoe believe the potential for sustained higher copper prices further improves the outstanding economics of the project.
“We’ve been publicly stating for the record confidence about higher copper prices in real terms for a long time. The stars now are aligning for the start of production at Kamoa-Kakula,” said Co-Executive Chairman Robert Friedland. “We believe we’re only on the cusp of what will be a structural, powerful and long-term commodity rally given supply limitations and fundamental demand from global green initiatives.”
“The economics for pushing ahead with the Phase 3 and 4 expansions to bring the project’s mining rate to 19 Mtpa are compelling,” added Friedland. “At this expanded rate, Kamoa-Kakula will rank as the world’s second largest copper producer, with peak annual copper production of more than 800,000 tonnes. Our team has only scratched the surface on our massive, 100%-owned exploration licences in the adjoining Western Foreland region that shares virtually identical geology to Kamoa-Kakula and is the focus of an expansive exploration campaign from this year onwards.”
Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.