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Production begins at Kamoa-Kakula, one of the largest copper projects worldwide

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(Kitco News) - Ivanhoe Mines (TSX: IVN) (OTCQX: IVPAF) announced today the start of copper concentrate production at the Phase 1, 3.8 million-tonne-per-annum (Mtpa) Kamoa-Kakula mine, on May 25th, several months ahead of schedule.

The company said that first ore was introduced into the concentrator plant on May 20th to perform initial hot commissioning tests on the ball mills and other processing equipment. The initial mill feed grade reached approximately 4% copper shortly after start-up.

As of May 25th, 5% to 6% copper ore is being conveyed directly from Kakula's underground mining operations to the run-of-mine stockpile and the concentrator. Based on extensive testwork, the concentrator is expected to produce a very high-grade, clean concentrate grading approximately 57% copper, with extremely low arsenic levels, the company said.

His Excellency Félix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, commented on the significance of the start of production at Kamoa-Kakula, "The start of production of copper concentrate at the Kamoa-Kakula mine indicates that the DRC is open for business and investment. We congratulate Ivanhoe Mines for having reached this milestone on this world-class discovery."

Ivanhoe added that the initiation of production puts the company on the path to establish Kamoa-Kakula as the second largest, and perhaps eventually the largest, copper mining complex in the world.

Ivanhoe's guidance for contained copper in concentrate expected to be produced by the Kamoa-Kakula project for the balance of 2021 is 80,000 to 95,000 tonnes.

Kakula is projected to be the world's highest-grade major copper mine, with an initial mining rate of 3.8 Mtpa, ramping up to 7.6 Mtpa in Q3 2022. Phase 1 is expected to produce approximately 200,000 tonnes of copper per year, and phases 1 and 2 combined are forecast to produce approximately 400,000 tonnes of copper per year.

The Kamoa-Kakula copper project is a joint venture between Ivanhoe Mines (39.6%), Zijin Mining Group (39.6%), Crystal River Global Limited (0.8%) and the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (20%).

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