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JCHX bags formal Kipushi mining contract from Ivanhoe worth almost $200 million

Chinese underground mining contractor JCHX Mining Management has formally secured yet another major new mining services contract in Africa valued at $194.6 million for a zinc and copper project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The contract was awarded to Kingko Mining, JCHX’s subsidiary operating in the DRC, by Canada’s Ivanhoe Mines, owner of the Kipushi zinc and copper mine. JCHX is already the mining contractor at Kamoa-Kakula copper mine in DRC, owned primarily by Ivanhoe Mines and Zijin Mining.

Kingko Mining will be responsible for mining at Kipushi at depths ranging from 1,200 m to 1,590 m underground. The contract period is effective immediately and will run until January 31, 2028. Kipushi is held 64% by Ivanhoe Mines and 38% by Gécamines. The Kipushi zinc-copper-germanium-silver-lead mine in the DRC is the world’s highest-grade zinc mine, and is on track to return to production in Q3 2024. Kipushi is expected produce approximately 270,000 t of zinc in concentrate upon recommencement of production, which will place it among the world’s largest zinc producers. The mine is adjacent to the town of Kipushi in the DRC approximately 30 km southwest of the provincial capital of Lubumbashi. It is a high-grade, underground zinc-copper project in the Central African Copperbelt which mined approximately 60 Mt grading 11% zinc and 7% copper between 1924 and 1993.

Earlier this year, Epiroc announced the order from JCHX for the mining fleet including Scooptram ST14 loaders, Minetruck MT42 haul trucks, and Simba production drill rigs. The Scooptram and Minetruck machines have be equipped with Epiroc’s telematics system Certiq, which allows for intelligent monitoring of machine performance and productivity in real time, and with Epiroc’s Rig Control System, RCS, which makes them ready for automation and remote control.

It follows the news in July 2023 that JCHX had secured a new $116 million contract to operate the Lubambe copper mine in Zambia. The contract covers extracting copper from the mine’s south flank, located in the mineral-rich Copperbelt province, from June 1, 2023 to June 30, 2026.

JCHX is also a growing mining company in its own right. In September, it completed all phases of construction for its own Lonshi copper mine in the DRC. The company acquired the entire equity stake in the mine in April 2021. It then initiated construction of the mine in August 2021. As of September 23, all construction work was finalised, enabling the mine to process 1.5 Mt of raw ore annually and produce approximately 40,000 t of copper metal annually. The Lonshi mine is the company’s second self-operated copper mine project in the DRC. The first one was the Dikulushi copper mine.

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