Zijin Mining has released expansion plan for Congo copper joint venture set to boost both its metal producing capacity and output.
The firm revealed that US $50million has been budgeted for upgrade works. The Kamoa-Kakula project, in which Ivanhoe Mines of Canada is Zijin’s main partner with 39.6% stake each, will increase capacity of its concentrator plants by about a fifth as part of the plan, the Chinese company said in a filing.
Its “de-bottlenecking plan” will increase the combined design processing capacity of the concentrator plants, which process ore brought from the mine, to 9.2 million tonnes of ore per year from 7.6 million tonnes.
The plan will also increase the plants’ annual copper output to over 450,000 tonnes compared to an earlier estimate of 400,000 tonnes, positioning Kamoa-Kakula as the world’s fourth-largest copper producer.
“The de-bottlenecking plan … is expected to cost approximately $50 million to modify certain pipes and equipment under continuous production. The plan is expected to take approximately 12 months to complete. A third, significantly larger concentrator is being designed and is expected to be commissioned in the fourth quarter of 2024,” said Zijin.
Besides Zijin and Ivanhoe, the DRC government owns 20% of Kamoa-Kakula and Crystal River Global Limited owns 0.8%. Investment in a $769 million smelter had been approved in November to reduce the project’s reliance on third-party smelters for ore processing. The plant is expected to take three years to construct.