Copper dreams

DRC: Kamoa-Kakula copper complex set to become world’s third-largest copper mine by 2024

By Muriel Devey Malu-Malu

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Posted on July 15, 2022 09:06

 Aerial view of the Kamoa 1 and 2 site, 25km from Kolwezi, in Lualaba © DR
Aerial view of the Kamoa 1 and 2 site, 25km from Kolwezi, in Lualaba © DR

One year after its unveiling, Kamco’s mining project near Kolwezi is exceeding expectations. Furthermore, if its development continues to go well, it will become the world’s third largest copper production complex by 2024.

The Kamoa-Kakula concession, which includes the three Kamoa Copper (Kamco) mining licences, is huge. It covers 400km2, 25km west of Kolwezi, in Lualaba (South). Is it a lunar landscape? No, because the mining sites are separated from each other by shrubby savannahs that colour the horizon green.

Probable reserves at this copper mega-complex are estimated at 233m tonnes of crude ore grading 4.46% copper, or 10.4m tonnes of contained copper, according to Olivier Binyingo, vice president of public relations for Ivanhoe Mines in DRC. This is a jackpot for Kamco, whose capital is held by Canada’s Ivanhoe Mines (39.6%), China’s Zijin Mining (39.6%), British-Hong Kong Crystal River Global Ltd (0.8%) and the Congolese state (20%).

The complex’s development is done in stages. The first stage involved constructing the Kakula and Kansoko mines, as well as a first concentrator with a processing

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