The Q1 production record stood at 55,602 tonnes of copper in concentrate and, as previously announced, Ivanhoe expected to hit the upper end of its 2022 copper production guidance of 290,000-340,000t.
First ore was introduced on March 21 to the milling circuit of the phase-two 3.8-million-tonne-per year concentrator plant, which Ivanhoe said was four months ahead of the original development schedule
Commercial production at the plant was declared on April 7 and Kamoa-Kakula set a new daily production record the following day with 25,126t milled and 1,202t of copper produced, the Canada-based company said.
"During the first 17 days of production, phase-two regularly exceeded its design throughput capacity, and continues to perform at similar throughput and recovery rates as the phase-one concentrator," Ivanhoe said.
With the phase-one and phase-two concentrator plants now in commercial production, Ivanhoe is planning to increase its annual copper-production rate to more than 400,000t from April onwards. Phase-two doubled the size of the mine's concentrator.
By Q2 2023, Ivanhoe is expecting to position Kamoa Copper as the world's fourth-largest copper producer, with production exceeding 450,000t/y.
"Our project team's focus now will be firmly on phase-three execution. We intend to deliver the phase-three project once again on time, and on budget. Phase-three is targeting first production by Q4 2024," Kamoa Copper's CEO Mark Farren said.
He said that within three years, the company expects Kamoa-Kakula to become the world's second-largest copper producing complex.
Details of the phase-three pre-feasibility study will be released in Q3.
Ivanhoe, listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, has seen its share price generally trend upwards since mid-March 2020. On March 17, 2020, the company had a share price of C$2.19. As of April 11 this year, the price had climbed to C$11.43/share (US$11.43/share).
The company had a market capitalisation of C$13.84 billion.