Home » Kamoa-Kakula Tops Global Low-Carbon Copper Production

Kamoa-Kakula Tops Global Low-Carbon Copper Production

by Adenike Adeodun

The Kamoa-Kakula Copper Complex in the Democratic Republic of Congo leads the world in low greenhouse gas emissions per unit of copper thanks to its 2022 assessment by Skarn Associates of London and WSP Group of Montreal. This complex achieves its notable performance by tapping into high-grade ore and the DRC’s mainly hydroelectric power grid.

The DRC’s clean, hydroelectric grid energy and the processing of high-grade ore with an average of 5.5% copper content allow the operation to far outperform the global average.

According to a report by Mining Weekly, Robert Friedland, Ivanhoe Mines’ executive co-chair, champions the essential role of copper in global electrification. He predicts a demand spike as renewable energy, electrified transportation, and infrastructure grow. Friedland asserts that Kamoa-Kakula’s sustainable mining methods will satisfy the burgeoning copper demand without further contributing to global warming, highlighting the DRC’s capacity to lead in low-carbon copper production.

The complex is gearing up for a major leap in the industry. This phase includes a new five-million-tonne-per-year underground mine, a Kamoa concentrator, a cutting-edge direct-to-blister flash copper smelter, and an upgrade to Turbine #5 at the Inga II hydroelectric facility.

Designed by Metso Outotec of Finland, Kamoa-Kakula’s smelter is on track to become one of the world’s most important and the largest copper flash smelter in Africa. By meeting International Finance Corporation emission standards, this smelter will boost copper concentrate processing and maintain one of the lowest Scope 1 and 2 GHG emission intensities worldwide.

Skarn and WSP’s assessment predicts that the new smelter will rank Kamoa-Kakula among the four lowest GHG-emitting copper smelters globally. This stride in eco-friendly production pairs with the domestic sale of high-strength sulphuric acid by-products to cut GHG emissions for local operations that depend on imported, energy-intensive sulphur.

Ivanhoe Mines actively partners with others to find low-emission copper refineries and refine logistics, such as using the Lobito Railway Corridor for shipping. Additionally, the refurbished Turbine #5 at Inga II is set to supply more clean power to the national grid, reinforcing the company’s dedication to environmental care.

Kamoa-Kakula’s broad development is on track with its mission to slash its overall GHG emissions intensity, forecasting a considerable decrease with the wrap-up of Phase 3 expansion and smelter operations.

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