Kamoa Kakula Copper EPCM

Client: Kamoa Copper (JV Between Ivanhoe Mines and Zijin Mining)
Location: Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
Contract Value: EPCM Manhours Budget – 52 Million USD/
Capex under DRA Control – 675 Million USD
Project Value: 1.3 Billion USD
Period: January 2019 - June 2021
Scope: Engineering, Procurement & Construction Management 
Throughput: 3.8 Mtpa | Copper

The greater Kamao Kakula Complex boasts 5 distinct orebodies, that Kamoa is planning to access via multiple decline systems located in three dedicated mining areas. Furthermore the complex will have 5 off 3.8 MTPA concentrator plants and a smelter, taking the planned production to a peak of 19 MTPA. 

The Kamao orebody has been independently ranked as one of the richest copper ore bodies in the world. Kakula’s expected average ore-feed grade is 6.6% copper, and mine-site cash cost of US$0.48/lb copper, in the first five years of operation. To date 671,000 tons grading 3.36% copper, including 116,000 tons of high-grade ore grading 6.08% copper, has been mined and stockpiled for process plant startup. 

DRA has been involved with Kamoa on the Kamoa project from 2017, conducted multiple studies and commenced with the execution phase of the project in January 2019, with planned commissioning being Q2 in 2021


Scope of Work

DRA’s scope of work is full EPCM services associated with Mining and Mining Infrastructure, Concentrator Process Plant and the projects Bulk Support Infrastructure.

The mining scope comprise multiple underground tips and conveyor systems, which include - a first for Africa - 2000tph decline conveyor belt. Further included are multiple dewatering pumping systems, at a total capacity of 1,000+ liters/second.

The UG fleet procured by DRA includes the largest LHD’s and Dump Trucks available being 21 Ton LHD’s and 63 Ton dump trucks.

Other than typical mine surface infrastructure, the scope includes for the worlds largest paste backfill plant.

The process plant scope include for a single stream 3.8MTPA Concentrator plant, comprising an HPGR in circuit with Two stage ball milling, 300M3 rougher flotation cells, cleaner circuit including the use of Jameson Cells, typical tailings and concentrate handling circuits and filter press with a bagging plant, effectively producing four truckloads of concentrate per hour.  ,

The general infrastructure include approx. 50 km of national roads network between Kolwezi and the mine, as well as multiple km’s of internal roads. It further includes the bulk power supply comprising 40Km’s of 220KV overhead line, upgrades to an existing 400MVA substation and the mine site 160MVA, 220KV/33KV Substation. As part of the scope the accommodation encompass the Kakula Village, which is a fully functional township to initially cater for 1600 people. Bulk water supply and water handling from UG and stormwater also comprise a notable portion of the scope. The tailings dam , located 7 km from the plant, complete with tailings lines to and water lines from the facility is included as part of the general infrastructure.


Key Accomplishments

  • Achieved 4 million LTI Free hours in the month of November 2020
  • Team commissioned the main decline belt and rock handling systems, amidst the middle of the COVID lockdown – all remotely.
  • Mine development record is in excess of 2km developed in a single month. 
  • Mine Development achieved holing between the northern and southern mining zones allowing access to main Stoping areas.
  • Successful commissioning of ventilation shafts
  • Little to zero slippage of project schedule during the COVID lockdown period
  • Steel erection record of 600ton per week achieved.  
  • Design and Drawing office developed in excess of 10 000 drawings
  • Client relationship – continued work received from Kamoa, 950 Million ZAR in EPCM Manhour orders since
    September 2017 various studies, early works and main execution projects executed. 
  • Peak Month, close to 50 000 manhours sold in one month. 
  • 36 km of national access roads complete and handed over in time
  • Forecast to complete the project under budget
  • The 2,000th truckload of project equipment supply offloaded in November 2020


Unique Features

  • Main decline Belt à 2 000 tph, 2 MW installed power, 212 meter lift, 1.5 meter wide, 3.1 m/s – largest decline
    rock handling system installed in Africa.
  • Underground Fleet  à Primary fleet comprising 21 ton LHD’s and 62ton Dump Trucks
  • Electrical Network and Power Supply à 160 MVA power supply – DRA undertaking the complete scope from
    220 KV 36km from the mine site, up to and including the 220V in the building plugs – with everything in between.
  • Development ends à 6m X 6m Development ends accessing 7m x 6m drift and fill Stoping zones.
  • Dewatering capacity à Multiple underground pump stations dewatering at 1 200 l/s
  • Backfill Plant à 600m3/hr paste backfill plant – largest in the world
  • Client Relationship à Good client relationship and team performance securing 950million ZAR of
    orders from Kamoa since Sept 2017. 


Key Quantities

  • Mine Development Meters à 428 km
  • Earthworks à 725 000 m3 in cut and 750 thousand m3 in fill
  • Civil Works à 44 000 m3 Concrete and 4 400 ton of rebar
  • Structural Steel à 10 800 ton of structural steel
  • Piping à 174 km of piping
  • Electrical à 867 km of cable and 1 150 electrical motors



Kamoa Kakula Copper Pre Feasibility Study

Client: Kamoa Copper SA
Location: Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
Value: US$1 billion
Period: 2017- 2018
Scope: 6 Mtpa Pre Feasibility Study for the Greenfields UG copper mine 

The Kamoa-Kakula deposit is the world’s largest high grade, copper-only deposit, located in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Kamoa Copper SA was a joint venture between Ivanhoe Mines, Zijin Mining Group Co, Ltd. and the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Kakula deposit was independently ranked as the world's largest, undeveloped, high yield, high-grade copper discovery and the Kakula resource was estimated at 174 million tons at a grade of 5.62% copper.

Kamoa Copper SA conducted a PFS, on their Kakula East mine, associated with the greater Kamoa-Kakula project. Indications from the Preliminary Economic Assessments (PEA) showed a feasible mine capacity of a predicted 6Mtpa copper production.


Services provided by DRA

The scope of services included PFS study work entailing mining, a process plant, associated bulk infrastructure and overall study management services.

From receipt of the mine design from Stantec, a six-month period remained to complete the study. The study schedule was set up to follow two critical paths, the first required:

  • Preliminary mine design
  • Preliminary mine schedule
  • PFS mine design
  • PFS mine schedule
  • Plant production schedule
  • Mining Capital and Opex estimates
  • Final report writing and overall estimate and input sheet development


The second critical path:

  • Metallurgical test work
  • Process plant designs
  • Plant production schedule
  • Process plant Capex and Opex estimates
  • Final report writing and overall estimate and input sheet development


DRA Global provided Kamoa Copper SA with a complete and integrated solution for the mine, process and infrastructure scopes ensuring full value chain alignment, seamless design continuity and the financial benefit of shared project services. The engineering and design was developed to support early execution works and to conduct the PFS in parallel.