Kamoa-Kakula’s first quarter copper output drops 6.5%

Loading of high-grade copper concentrate into the transfer bin. (Image courtesy of Ivanhoe Mines.)

Ivanhoe Mines (TSX: IVN) announced on Wednesday that its Kamoa-Kakula copper complex in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) produced 86,203 tonnes of copper in concentrate in the first quarter of 2024.

This represents a decrease of 6.5% compared to the 93,603 tonnnes produced in the same quarter of last year.

Still, the Canadian miner maintained Kamoa-Kakula’s full-year production guidance of between 440,000 and 490,000 tonnes copper in concentrate.

During the first quarter, Kamoa-Kakula’s Phase 1 and 2 concentrators processed about 2.06 million tonnes of ore with an average feed grade of 4.8% copper. The copper flotation recoveries for the quarter averaged 87.4%, surpassing the Phase 1 and 2 concentrator design recovery rate of 86%.

The Phase 3 concentrator, which is ahead of schedule, is expected to be completed next month. By the end of the quarter, there were 2.05 million tonnes of stockpiled ore for the Phase 3 concentrator with an average grade of 3.1% copper.

The company also said that Kamoa Copper is actively working with Congo’s state-owned power company, La Société Nationale d’Electricité (SNEL), to tackle the underlying issues causing instability in the grid infrastructure since late 2022.

The first quarter’s wet season brought heavier-than-usual rainfall, exacerbating grid power intermittency.

Last year, Kamoa-Kakula was confirmed as world’s lowest carbon-emitting major copper mine.

Shares of Ivanhoe Mines were up by 1.9% by 12:30 p.m. EDT on the back of the news release. The Vancouver-based copper miner has a market capitalization of C$21 billion ($15.5bn).