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Dual-listed Ivanhoe Mines’ Kamoa-Kakula copper complex, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), produced 393 551 t of copper in concentrate in 2023, in line with the production guidance range of 390 000 t to 430 000 t.

Guidance was achieved following the successful ramp-up of Kamoa Copper’s debottlenecking programme, which was completed ahead of schedule on February 27, 2023.

Kamoa-Kakula’s 2023 production achievement represents a year-on-year increase of 18%.

A daily milling record was achieved of 31 084 t by the Phase 1 and 2 concentrators of ore on January 1, 2024.

This year’s yearly production guidance for Kamoa-Kakula is estimated at between 440 000 t and 490 000 t of copper in concentrate, following the anticipated completion of the Phase 3 concentrator during the third quarter of the year.

The company cautions that the production guidance is based on several assumptions and estimates as of December 31, 2023, including among other things, assumptions about the timing for the completion and ramp-up of the new five-million-tonne yearly Phase 3 concentrator.

Guidance involves estimates of known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results to differ materially, it adds.

Kamoa-Kakula’s 2024 cash cost and capital expenditure guidance will be announced in the 2023 year-end financial results to be published on February 26.

POWER SUPPLY

Also, the company mentions that Kamoa Copper has been working extensively with the DRC’s State-owned power company, La Société Nationale d’Electricité (SNEL), to identify the causes of the instability across the southern DRC’s grid infrastructure and to identify long-lasting solutions.

In December 2023, SNEL and Ivanhoe Mines Energy DRC, a subsidiary of Kamoa Holding, signed an amendment to the existing financing agreement to fund the identified infrastructure upgrades.

The original financing agreement consisted of a loan of up to $250-million to fund the refurbishment of 78 MW of generation capacity at the Mwadingusha dam and 178 MW of generation capacity from Turbine 5 at the Inga II dam.

The refurbishment of the Mwadingusha facility was completed in September 2021, and the refurbishment of Turbine 5 at Inga II is on schedule to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2024.

The amendment to the financing agreement expands the loan up to a total of $450-million. The funding will be assigned specifically to grid infrastructure upgrades, such as an increase in grid capacity between Inga and Kolwezi, a new harmonic filter at the Inga Converter Station, as well as a new static compensator at the Kolwezi Converter Station.

Mobilisation of resources is under way, with project delivery expected to take place over the next 18 months.

In addition, Kamoa Copper’s engineering team is currently expanding the on-site backup generation capacity to ensure there is full on-site redundancy for the current Phase 1 and 2 operations, as well as future Phase 3 operations.

On-site backup-power generation capacity is set to increase, via a phased roll-out, from the current 48 MW to a total of over 200 MW in time for the completion of the Phase 3 smelter in quarter four 2024.

An additional 30 MW of installed generation capacity is expected to be fully commissioned early in quarter two 2024, with a further 50 MW commissioned by the end of the quarter.

This will bring backup generation capacity to 128 MW, which is enough for the combined Phase 1, 2 and 3 concentrators to operate.

The generator farm sites are being built adjacent to the Phase 1 and 2 concentrators, and smelter, at Kakula, as well as adjacent to the Phase 3 concentrator at Kamoa.

Negotiations to source up to an additional 30 MW of power from the Zambian grid interconnector are complete, with the delivery of power expected to commence imminently. In the longer term, power supplied via the Zambian interconnector is expected to increase up to 100 MW.