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Ivanhoe bolsters sustainability on numerous fronts

14th April 2023

By: Donna Slater

Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer

     

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With a 26-year history in the African mining sector, diversified miner Ivanhoe Mines is building on the sustainability goals of the group and enhancing the long-term strategy of its flagship and tier one Kamoa-Kakula copper complex in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

“When we set out to build Kamoa-Kakula alongside our joint venture partners at Zijin and the DRC government, we were resolute in our commitment to industry-leading standards in terms of resource efficiency, water and energy usage, and minimising emissions,” says Ivanhoe president Marna Cloete.

She says the miner knew Kamoa-Kakula had the potential to become an example of how modern mining must be done – in partnership with local governments and communities, and with an unwavering focus on transparency and environment, social and governance best practices.

“Africa is not only blessed with world-class geology, but also with exceptional hydropower potential and abundant sunshine that can pave the way for decarbonising its mining industry.

“Like the existing Phase 1 and Phase 2 operations, future expansions of the Kamoa-Kakula complex will be powered by clean, renewable hydro-generated electricity which is developed in public partnership with the DRC’s State-owned power company La Société Nationale d’Electricité.

“Ongoing refurbishment of Turbine 5 at the Inga II hydropower facility, scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of this year, to align with the commissioning of the Phase 3 concentrator and smelter, will provide clean, green hydropower for Kamoa-Kakula’s next phase,” adds Cloete.

In South Africa, Ivanhoe’s Platreef project is expected to receive power from a 5 MVA solar power plant before year-end. To date, all support structures, solar panels and the inverter were procured with delivery expected in the first half of this year.

Ivanhoe is currently exploring various options to increase the alternative power solutions for Platreef.

In terms of other sustainability achievements, the miner has obtained timeous approval for environmental- and social-impact assessment (ESIA) amendments for Phase 3 of Kamoa-Kakula, while an outstanding ESIA for Platreef (that was delayed owing to an activist appeal) is now pending approval.

Ivanhoe also completed a greenhouse-gas (GHG) alternatives analysis for Kamoa-Kakula for instances where carbon dioxide emissions are projected to be above the 100 000 t/y threshold. The report will be used to inform Ivanhoe’s decarbonisation roadmap.

In addition, Ivanhoe also devised a GHG emissions programmes to reduce GHG emissions at Kamoa-Kakula.

In terms of promoting biodiversity, the miner has implanted an action plan with a biodiversity project nursery under way.

At the Platreef project, Ivanhoe has established an apiary as sanctuaries for pollinators by promoting natural habitation and plant diversity near the project area, noting that the “bees are thriving”.

To boost the miner’s prosperity objectives, Ivanhoe has implemented targeted enterprise and supplier development programmes to meet local procurement obligations, with numerous interventions in 2022 and a continued focus this year, with 100 interventions effected to date. These have resulted in the support of seven informal enterprises, 41 formal enterprises and eight ring-fenced opportunities for local community suppliers.

Ivanhoe has also completed the implementation of the livelihoods restoration programme (LRP) at Kamoa-Kakula and Platreef, as well as established the related LRP monitoring and evaluation programme.

As for access to water, the miner has drilled and commissioned ten new boreholes recently near the Kipushi project in the DRC.

Meanwhile, Cloete adds that Ivanhoe’s projects have, to date, generated over 14 000 jobs from their construction and operational activities.

“Local employment remains one of our key priorities; for example, over 97% of our full-time employees at Kamoa-Kakula are from the DRC. We will continue this excellent track record of local employment and training through initiatives such as our world-class training centres, skills development programmes, and inclusion targets,” he says.

Currently, the miner is building the Kamoa Centre of Excellence, which will create a sustainable and community-focused higher learning environment, offering international degrees and diplomas in the Lualaba province in the DRC.

“Ivanhoe’s community development initiatives have succeeded in equipping communities with transformative infrastructure such as schools, health facilities and potable water access.

“They have also nurtured local businesses and value chains around the mining complexes, including sustainable agriculture and farming, and investments in early childhood education and gender equality,” she says.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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