- Ivanhoe Mines has pledged to achieve net-zero operational greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 1 and 2) at the industry-leading Kamoa-Kakula Copper Mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- The announcement was made by Ivanhoe Mines CEO, Mr. Robert Friedland, at the 2021 Goldman Sachs Copper Day last week in London.
In support of the Paris Agreementon climate change, and in the spirit of the commitments at the recent virtual global climate conference by the Chinese and American governments to sharply cut emissions, Ivanhoe Mines has committed to work with its joint-venture partners and leading underground mining equipment manufacturers to ensure that Kamoa-Kakula becomesthe first net-zero operational carbon emitter among the world’s top-tier copper producers.
last month Ivanhoe Mines signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in a public-private partnership with the DRC’s state-owned power company La Société Nationale d’Electricité (SNEL) to upgrade a major turbine (#5) at the existing Inga II hydropower facility on the Congo River.
Since the Kamoa-Kakula mine and concentrator plant already are powered by clean, renewable hydro-generated electricity, the focus of the company’s net-zero commitment will be on electrifying the project’s mining fleet with new, state-of-the-art equipment powered by electric batteries or hydrogen fuel cells.
“Emissions from all gasoline and diesel vehicles not only harm our planet, they harm our health. Electric and fuel-cell vehicles now include cars, transit buses, trucks of all sizes, and even big-rig tractor trailers,” said Mr. Friedland.
“Industrial-scale electric and fuel-cell mechanized underground mining equipment currently is being tested around the world, and it is only a matter of time until they become available for commercial usein the size that we require for our large-scale, bulk mining operations. We plan to be among the first of the early adopters of the technology.”
Kamoa-Kakula is expected to soon begin producing its first copper concentrates. Kakula is projected to be the world’s highest-grade major copper mine, with an initial mining rate (Phase 1) of 3.8 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) at an estimated early average feed grade of more than 6.0% copper, ramping up to 7.6 Mtpa (Phase 2) in Q3 2022. Phases 1 and 2 combined are forecast to produce approximately 400,000 tonnes of copper per year. Based on independent benchmarking, the project’s phased expansion scenario to 19 Mtpa would position Kamoa-Kakula as the world’s second-largest copper mining complex, with peak annual copper production of more than 800,000 tonnes.
“Kamoa-Kakula already is powered by one of the greenest electricity grids in the world, so we have a considerable head start in achieving our net-zero goal,” said Mr. Friedland.
The Kamoa-Kakula Copper Project is a joint venture between Ivanhoe Mines (39.6%), Zijin Mining Group (39.6%), Crystal River Global Limited (0.8%) and the DRC government (20%).
Author: Bryan Groenendaal