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Ivanhoe Mines anticipates that its Kamoa project is set out to become one of the world’s highest-grade copper mines, amongst the larger global copper mines. It also aims to be one of the world’s lowest-cost copper producers.

Ivanhoe Mines recently completed an update on the preliminary economic assessment for the Kamoa project, near the mining centre of Kolwezi in the Katanga province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

According to Robert Friedland, founder and executive chairman of Ivanhoe Mines, the project is in a “class by itself”, when considering the world’s undeveloped copper deposits.

 Kamoa has the rare combination of a very high copper grade and very large tonnage, qualities that position Kamoa to become a substantial copper producer with one of the lowest cash costs anywhere in the world.

“This thorough, independent assessment gives us added confidence as we proceed with the planning of our next steps to advance Kamoa’s development into a world-class copper mine,” commented Friedland in a company statement.

Some of the preliminary economic assessment’s highlights include: a large mine and smelter that would be developed using a two-phased approach, a smaller-scale start-up that would establish an operating platform to support expansion, early cash flows generated from the sale of high-grade copper concentrate and low pre-production capital requirement of approximately US$1.4 billion.

The mine will target a steady-state production rate of 300 000 tonnes per year of blister copper, which would establish Kamoa as one of the world’s largest copper mines, with the highest grades. Cash costs of US$1.18 per pound of copper would rank Kamoa near the bottom of the global cash-cost curve.

The first phase of mining would target high-grade copper mineralisation from shallow, underground resources to yield a high-value concentrate. The second phase would entail a major expansion of the mine and mill, and construction of a smelter to produce blister copper.

The assessment further contemplates the establishment of a conventional copper mine and concentrator complex at Kamoa with an initial mining rate and concentrator capacity of three million tonnes per year. Initial mill feed would come from the Kansoko Sud mineralized zone and lead into the central area of Kamoa’s mineralised zones.

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