Ivanhoe Adds New Resources to Kamoa-Kakula Project Planning

One of seven drills working at the Kakula
Discovery, 10 km southwest of the Kamoa
project’s Kansoko Sud box cut.
(Photo Ivanhoe Mines)
Ivanhoe Mines has published an initial resource estimate for the recently discovered Kakula deposit approximately 10 kilometers (km) southwest of the Kamoa deposit on the Kamoa-Kakula copper project west of the mining center of Kolwezi in southeast Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The project, previously called the Kamoa project, is now the Kamoa- Kakula project. The project is a joint venture between Ivanhoe Mines, Zijin Mining and the DRC government.

Mine development is currently under way on the Kamoa deposit. However, “with the initial resource now established at Kakula, Ivanhoe is evaluating technical and infrastructure options to rapidly advance the development of the near-surface, highest-grade copper resources at Kakula,” Ivanhoe Executive Chairman Robert Friedland said. “Our mine planning will focus on how to expeditiously develop the zones of thick, bottom-loaded chalcocite, grading in excess of 6% copper, near the center of Kakula’s high-grade area.”

Current planning for development of the Kamoa deposit calls for construction and operation of a 3-million-metrictons- per-year (mt/y) underground mine, concentrator and associated infrastructure to produce about 100,000 mt/y of copper in concentrate. A planned second phase would entail a major expansion of the mine and mill and construction of a smelter to produce blister copper.

Highlights of the initial Kakula mineral resources estimate at a 1% copper cutoff include indicated resources of 192 million mt at a grade of 3.45% copper, containing 14.6 billion lb of copper, and inferred resources of 101 million mt at a grade of 2.74% copper, containing 6.1 billion lb of copper. The average true thickness of Kakula’s “selective mineralized zone” at a 1% cutoff is 14.27 meters (m) in the indicated resources area and 10.33 m in the inferred resources area.

Combined Kamoa-Kakula indicated mineral resources now total 944 million mt, grading 2.83% copper, containing 58.9 billion lb of copper at a 1% copper cutoff and a minimum thickness of 3 m. Mineralization at Kakula is substantively thicker and higher grade than elsewhere on the Kamoa mining license. Given the success to date in delineating high-grade Kakula copper resources, the drilling program has been expanded by 60,000 m and will continue unabated into 2017. Four rigs are drilling step-out holes to the southeast and northwest of Kakula’s currently defined high-grade core. One rig is drilling infill holes to expand the indicated mineral resource, while a sixth rig is focusing on shallow drilling to define stratigraphy and the weathering profile in the area outlined for a potential box cut.

With the initial Kakula resource estimate complete, Ivanhoe has contracted OreWin Pty. of Australia to prepare a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for the development of a 4-million-mt/y mine and mill at Kakula. The PEA will concentrate on establishing the economic parameters of potential mining operations, including capital and operating costs for an underground mine.

As featured in Womp 2016 Vol 11 - www.womp-int.com