Ivanhoe Mines confirms Kamoa-Kakula Copper Complex as the World’s Lowest Carbon-emitting Major Copper Mine

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Ivanhoe Mines Executive Co-Chair Robert Friedland and President Marna Cloete, announced today an updated current and future greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions assessment of the Kamoa-Kakula Copper Complex. The assessment, conducted by independent consultants Skarn Associates of London, England and WSP Group of Montreal, Canada, confirms that Kamoa-Kakula is the market-leading major copper producer in terms of GHG emissions. In addition, the assessment highlights the significant reduction in combined Scope 1, 2 and 3 GHG emissions intensity following the completion of the direct-to-blister copper smelter expected in Q4 2024.

The company is also pleased to report that the refurbishment of Turbine #5 at the Inga II hydroelectric facility is approximately 50% complete and is advancing on budget and on schedule. Turbine #5 will generate 178 MW of clean, hydroelectric power into the DRC grid following completion in Q4 2024.

In addition, Ivanhoe Mines has appointed independent consulting firm BDO Global of Zaventem, Belgium, to assist with shaping the company’s decarbonisation strategy and pathway to net-zero emissions.

Ivanhoe Mines’ Executive Co-Chair, Robert Friedland commented:

“The world is waking up to the fact that copper is the undisputed metal of electrification, with even conservative forecasts predicting that demand will double in size by 2035, based on massive requirements from renewable energy generation, grid-scale transmission and storage infrastructure, and the electrification of mass transportation.

“We have said it before – there will absolutely be no energy transition to ‘net-zero’ without a transformational increase in the amount of primary copper produced by the mining industry. However, the inhabitants of our planet are also demanding that mining companies work to limit greenhouse gas emissions and safeguard the environment. The achievements at Kamoa-Kakula demonstrate that mining can indeed be re-invented to sustainably provide the metal that we so desperately need, without compounding the problem of global warming and in harmony with our employees, local communities, government partners and stakeholders.”

“Kamoa-Kakula is proof that the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be the future of low-carbon copper production, with its unique high-grade mineral endowment, exceptional hydropower potential, and rapidly improving infrastructure, such as the Lobito Corridor.”

Kamoa-Kakula Copper Complex is the world’s lowest carbon-emitting major copper mine on a Scope 1 and 2 basis

The updated GHG emissions assessment recently completed by Skarn Associates and WSP Group confirms that in 2022 Kamoa-Kakula produced among the lowest carbon emissions per unit of copper in the world, and the lowest of any major copper mine.

This is partially due to the incredibly high-grade orebodies at Kamoa-Kakula with ore milled at an average grade of 5.5% in 2022, roughly ten times higher than the estimated average copper head grade globally of 0.6%.

It is also a function of the DRC grid being among the world’s cleanest, with 99.5% of grid power generated from hydroelectricity, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. This includes investments in hydropower generation that Kamoa Copper has made in partnership with DRC state utility, Société Nationale d’Electricité (SNEL), such as the completed 78 MW Mwadingusha hydroelectric facility and the ongoing work at Turbine #5 of the Inga II hydroelectric facility.

On a Scope 1 and 2 basis (reported from ore to mine gate), Kamoa-Kakula’s GHG emissions intensity in 2022 was 0.16 equivalent tonnes of carbon dioxide per tonne of contained copper produced (CO2-e / t Cu). This comfortably ranks Kamoa-Kakula almost at the bottom of the Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions curve, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. 2022 Scope 1 & 2 copper GHG emissions intensity curve, highlighting Kamoa-Kakula and top 10 largest copper mining operations. Kamoa-Kakula is the world’s fastest growing and greenest major copper mine.

Phase 3 direct-to-blister flash copper smelter will be one of the world’s largest copper smelters and also one of the greenest

Kamoa-Kakula’s ongoing Phase 3 expansion, which is on schedule to be completed in Q4 2024, consists of a new 5-Mtpa underground mine and concentrator at Kamoa, an on-site direct-to-blister flash copper smelter, as well as the refurbishment of Turbine #5 at the Inga II hydroelectric power station.

Turbine #5 will supply an additional 178 megawatts of clean hydroelectric power to the national grid, which is sufficient to meet the power requirements of the Phase 3 concentrator, the smelter, as well as provide spare capacity for the DRC grid and future expansions.

The new direct-to-blister flash copper smelter is projected to be one of the largest, single-line copper flash smelters in the world, and the largest in Africa. The smelter will have a nameplate production capacity is 500,000 tonnes per annum of 99+%-pure blister copper anodes.

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