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Ivanhoe’s Congo copper mine hits record production

Assembling racks to hold electrical cables in the Phase 2 concentrator plant. (Image courtesy of Ivanhoe Mines.)

Ivanhoe Mines (TSX: IVN) saw its Kamoa-Kakula copper mining complex in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) hit a new production record in the first quarter of this year, with 55,602 tonnes in the period.

The Canadian miner, which kicked off production at the asset last year, said the operation also reached a monthly all-time-high of 19,605 tonnes of copper produced in March.

Commercial production of the 3.8-million-tonne-a-year Phase 2 concentrator plant at Kamoa-Kakula was declared last week, Ivanhoe said. This pushed daily output to a fresh high on April 8, with 25,126 tonnes milled and 1,202 tonnes of copper produced.

The company is confident the early commissioning of the Phase 2 concentrator plant will enable Kamoa Copper to reach the upper end of its 2022 copper production guidance of 290,000 to 340,000 tonnes of copper in concentrate

The Phase 3 expansion is also advancing, Ivanhoe said, with first copper production expected by the end of 2024.

Co-chairperson Robert Friedland, who made his fortune from the Voisey’s Bay nickel project in Canada in the 1990s, believes the complex will become the world’s second-largest copper mine with the highest grades among major operations.

See how Kamoa-Kakula fares among the world’s top 10 biggest copper mines:

The Vancouver-based company has also vowed to produce the industry’s “greenest” copper, as it works to become the first net-zero operational carbon emitter among the world’s top-tier copper producers. Friedland has not set a target date for achieving that goal.