Expected to be the largest of its kind in Africa, the 500,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) smelter is planned to be built adjacent to the Kamoa-Kakula’s Phase 1 and Phase 2 concentrator plants.
The Kamoa-Kakula project is a joint venture (JV) between Zijin Mining Group (39.6%), Ivanhoe Mines (39.6%), Crystal River Global (0.8%) and the Government of the DRC (20%).
The new smelter will be equipped to process the majority of the copper concentrate produced by Kamoa-Kakula’s Phase 1, Phase 2, and Phase 3 concentrators.
Reuters reported that the smelter is expected to help reduce the partners’ dependence on third-party smelters to process their ore and make blister, a partially purified form of copper.
The Kamoa-Kamula JV will use its own cash flows to fund the expenditures, $699m of which will be used for construction of the smelter, reported the news agency citing Zijin.
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Last week, China Nerin Engineering secured a contract to build the Kamoa-Kamula direct-to-blister plant, which is expected to take three years to complete.
Kamoa-Kamula’s first phase is expected to produce around 200,000tpa of copper. It was commissioned in May 2021.
The production is expected to increase to 400,000tpa in the Phase 2 expansion, which is due to complete in the second quarter of 2022.
The Kamoa-Kakula copper mining complex is expected to have a peak production capacity of more than 800,000tpa.