June 2 (Reuters) - Ivanhoe Mines said on Wednesday
its copper mining joint venture in the Democratic Republic of
Congo, which started production last week, had signed a 10-year
deal to process some of its copper concentrate at a nearby
Congolese authorities last week reiterated a long-standing
ban on copper concentrate exports, and said only mining
companies with waivers would be allowed to export concentrate.
The ban has been in place since 2013 to encourage domestic
The Lualaba smelter, majority-owned by China Nonferrous
Mining Corp Ltd (CNMC), will treat up to 150,000 wet
metric tonnes of concentrate a year from the Kamoa-Kakula mine
Ivanhoe is developing with Zijin Mining in return
for a treatment charge and market-based realization fee.
The 400,000 tonnes per year capacity smelter, which is
around 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the mine by road, will
produce blister copper ingots containing around 99% copper. The
Ivanhoe-Zijin joint venture, Kamoa Copper, will then collect
these from a storage area, Ivanhoe said in a statement.
The processing deal "will account for just under 40% of the
total volumes of concentrates produced by Phase 1, making the
most of available in-country smelter capacity," said Kamoa
Copper Chief Financial Officer Rochelle de Villiers, who is
leading concentrate offtake and marketing negotiations.
The first delivery was made on Tuesday, she added.
Ivanhoe expects Kamoa-Kakula to be the world's highest-grade
major copper mine. Production started ahead of schedule on May
26, and Ivanhoe expects output of 80,000 to 95,000 tonnes of
copper in concentrate this year and peak annual output of over
800,000 tonnes after several phases of expansion.
In a separate statement, CNMC said the tolling agreement
would allow both sides to realise synergies upstream and
downstream, without elaborating.
Kamoa Copper is also evaluating the construction of a
smelting complex which would produce blister and anode copper as
well as sulphuric acid as a by-product.
(Reporting by Tom Daly and Helen Reid. Editing by Mark Potter)