A review of the Kamoa/Kakula copper project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was presented by Mr. Stephen Amos, Head of DRC Projects, Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., at the Copper 2019 conference in Vancouver recently. The project plans to commence operations in Q3.2021, treating the higher-grade, shallower Kakula ore for startup resource.
Originally the discovery was at the nearby Kamoa site, northeast of Kakula by approximately 12 kilometres, and the flowsheet developed on the Kamoa ore. However ongoing drilling revealed the Kakula deposit, and given its favourably higher copper grade and shallower occurrence, redirected the project to the latter resource for startup.
The original flowsheet for Kamoa was developed by Dr. Norman Lotter and his team at the XPS laboratory in Sudbury during his appointment as Consulting Metallurgist there (2011-2015). The methodology used the modern Process Mineralogy toolbox that worked from true samples through quantitative mineralogy to flotation testing, all using appropriate quality controls, based on the process implications of the mineralogy. This meant that the development of a viable flowsheet was faster than by conventional means, since parameters such as grinding strategy, mineral types and associated flotation requirements could be spelt out before any empirical testing.
The Kamoa/Kakula project will commission as the highest-grade, highest-tonnage operational copper resource to start up in decades. Flowsheets wish Mr. Amos and Ivanhoe every success with the project.
Some of the project activities are shown in the following photos very kindly made available by Mr. Amos.
Grade profile of DDH 1450 at Kakula
Drilling at the Kamoa North Bonanza Zone