AfricaBreaking NewsBusinessInternational NewsMining

Ivanhoe Mines and Gécamines Join Forces to Revive Historic Kipushi Mine in DRC

Ivanhoe Mines and Gécamines have officially inked a joint venture agreement to resurrect the Kipushi zinc-copper-germanium-silver mine, marking a historic moment for the region. 

The signing ceremony, attended by Ivanhoe Mines Executive Co-Chair Robert Friedland, President Marna Cloete, Gécamines Chairman Guy-Robert Lukama Nkunzi, and General Manager Placide Nkala Basadilua, signals the commencement of a new era for the ultra-high-grade mine.

This venture holds immense significance as Kipushi, dormant for 30 years, will recommence operations a century after its inception in 1924, when it was recognized as the world’s richest copper mine. 

The revitalization effort includes the construction of a new concentrator and underground development, both progressing ahead of schedule, with the anticipated commencement of production in Q2 2024.

Gécamines Chairman, Guy-Robert Lukama Nkunzi, expressed pride in relaunching Kipushi, terming it a pivotal moment for the company, local communities, and the entire country. The joint venture agreement enhances Gécamines’ stake in KICO to 38%, rising to 43% by 2027. 

This collaboration aims to unlock the substantial potential of the zinc deposit, fostering economic development in line with the vision outlined by the President of the Republic, Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo.

Robert Friedland, Founder and Executive Co-Chairman of Ivanhoe Mines, hailed the joint venture agreement as a significant milestone. 

He emphasized the extraordinary mineral richness of Kipushi, holding the world’s richest zinc orebody, along with substantial quantities of copper, lead, silver, germanium, and gallium. 

Friedland commended the dedicated teams and the Congolese people for their exceptional contributions to restarting this historic mine.

The joint-venture agreement outlines key points, including the transfer of additional ownership to Gécamines, the establishment of a new supervisory board, and initiatives for the development of Congolese employees. 

It also emphasizes the economic benefits that Kipushi’s revival will bring to local employment and the regional economy.

One notable aspect is the construction of a commercial border crossing and bypass road, which will provide direct export and import access to Zambia. 

The strategic location of Kipushi, adjacent to the Zambian border, positions it as a significant player in the DRC Copperbelt’s mineral export activities.

Furthermore, discussions on off-take and financing facilities are in progress, with the expectation of concluding these negotiations in the current quarter. Ivanhoe Mines has received substantial interest in financing the Kipushi project, demonstrating the strong market interest in the venture.

The construction of an 800,000-tonne-per-annum concentrator is progressing well, with design recoveries targeted at 96%. The project is expected to produce over 250,000 tonnes of zinc annually over the first five years of production. 

Underground development, focused on the zinc-rich Big Zinc and Southern Zinc zones, is ahead of schedule, with over 4,500 meters of lateral and decline development completed since September 2022.

The reactivation of the Kipushi Mine marks the rebirth of a mining legend with a storied history of copper, zinc, germanium, and precious metals production. 

With Kipushi’s exceptional zinc grade and strategic mineral composition, the collaboration between Ivanhoe Mines and Gécamines is poised to contribute significantly to the economic development of the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

The successful resurrection of Kipushi reaffirms the region’s position as a vital player in the global mineral development landscape

Source: Copperbelt Katanga Mining

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *