First truckloads of bagged copper concentrate left the Kamoa-Kakula mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on July 17 for export to international markets via to the Port of Durban in South Africa, Ivanhoe Mines said July 19.
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The company said that the first truckloads of Kamoa-Kakula's blister copper ingots, containing approximately 99% copper, are scheduled to be exported from the Lualaba Copper Smelter in the DRC to international markets this week.
Joint venture partners Canadian mining firm Ivanhoe Mines and Chinese resource explorer and developer Zijin Mining said in a statement that their DRC subsidiary, Kamoa Copper, received all necessary authorizations from the DRC government to export copper concentrate and blister copper on June 8.
"As Kamoa-Kakula's Phase 1 concentrator plant ramps up toward steady-state production, the mine now is producing more concentrate than the nearby Lualaba Copper Smelter can process," said Ivanhoe Mines president and CFO Marna Cloete.
As such, Kamoa-Kakula has begun exporting its copper concentrates to international smelters, Cloete said.
Kamoa-Kakula produced first copper concentrate on May 25 and made its first delivery of bulk concentrates from Kamoa-Kakula to the Lualaba Copper Smelter on June 1. Since then, deliveries to the smelter have been occurring on a daily basis, the company said.
In June, Kamoa Copper signed offtake agreements with Hong Kong based firms, CITIC Metal and Gold Mountains International Mining Company, a subsidiary of Zijin, for 50% each of the copper products from Kamoa-Kakula's phase 1 production. CITIC Metal and Zijin are purchasing the copper concentrate at the Kamoa-Kakula mine and the blister copper at the Lualaba Copper Smelter on a free-carrier basis and will be responsible for arranging freight and shipment to the final destination, initially via the Port of Durban.
Phase 1 of Kamoa-Kakula, currently ramping up to steady-state production, is expected to produce about 200,000 mt/year of copper, while the combined phases 1 and 2 are forecast to produce approximately 400,000 mt/year of copper.