How Ivanhoe’s giant new Congo mine stacks up against copper mining’s top tier – by Frik Els ( – June 24, 2021)

When Ivanhoe Mines’ Kamoa-Kakula project in the Democratic Republic of Congo went into production a month ago it was the biggest new mine to do so since Escondida in Chile in November 1990.

Escondida hit its stride eight years later, producing 867,000 tonnes on its way to a peak of more than 1.4m tonnes a decade later. With more than 50 years left, the BHP-Rio Tinto owned operation may remain unsurpassed over its life in terms of sheer size.

A new report by BMO Capital Markets analyst Andrew Mikitchook outlines a similarly rapid growth path for Kamoa-Kakula, with the DRC mine entering peak production of 841,000 tonnes by 2028.

Kamoa-Kakula may never hit seven figures in annual output (although exploration on Ivanhoe’s adjacent Western Foreland licences which the Vancouver-based company owns 90%–100% of may transform the complex’s prospects once again) but size is not necessarily its standout feature. Grade is.

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