Ivanhoe Mines (TSX:IVN) secured on Tuesday an additional C$612 million (about $464m) granted by its largest shareholder, China’s state-owned CITIC Metal, in April this year, which the Canadian miner is using to build a giant copper mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The investment, now fully approved, is CITIC’s second major one in less than a year, bringing its total financing to about $1 billion.
Another Chinese firm, Zijin Mining Group — which became Ivanhoe’s partner in the project four years ago — exercised its anti-dilution rights last month, which in turn will generate additional proceeds for Ivanhoe of C$67 million ($50 million).
Robert Friedland, who made his fortune from the Voisey’s Bay nickel project in Canada in the 1990s, has said the capacity of the project’s first phase could later be easily tripled. He believes Kamoa-Kakula has the potential to become the world’s second-largest copper mine.
Once fully developed, the mining complex could produce 382,000 tonnes of copper a year during the first 10 years, climbing to 700,000 tonnes of copper after 12 years of operations. That means that Kamoa-Kakula has the potential to become the world’s second-largest copper mine.
Analysts also believe the giant mine could restore the DRC’s historical position as one of the world’s top copper producing countries.