The target date for the first copper concentrate production at Canada's Ivanhoe Mining Corporation's Kamoa-Kakula copper mine in (DRC), Democratic Republic of the Congo, has been advanced by several months and is expected to be in late May or early June. Copper production in the first stage is expected to be about 200000 tons per year, while the combined production of stages I and II is expected to be 400000 tons per year.
Kakula is expected to become the world's highest-grade major copper mine, with an initial annual mining capacity of 3.8 million tonnes, with an estimated early average feed grade of more than 6.0 per cent of copper and will reach 7.6 million tonnes by 2007.
The phased expansion scenario of the project is 19 million tons per year, which will position Kamoa-Kakula as the second largest copper mine complex in the world, with a peak annual copper production of more than 800000 tons.
Co-chairman Robert Friedlander (Robert Friedland) said the production of the Kakoula (Kakula) would mark "the beginning of a multi-generation copper mining area, which is made up of many high-end mines".
The first batch of ore is expected to start production by the end of May, sending lower-grade ore into the plant before the hot commissioning phase, and then raising the grade.
The project also met its pre-production inventory target of 3 million tons of high-and medium-grade ore, with an estimated mixed average copper content of 4.74 per cent.
Copper in stocks increased by about 23000 tons in April-a cumulative total of more than 140000 tons.
Mark Farren, chief executive of Kamoa, said: "as our current monthly mining speed exceeds the milling speed of the first stage, inventories are likely to grow further and can be refined only when the second phase of the concentrator begins operation in mid-2022."
Meanwhile, Kamoa-Kakula set another monthly mine development record in April, 3625 m ahead of schedule, bringing the total underground development volume to about 42.2 km, 15 km ahead of schedule.