Ivanhoe, Gécamines Break Ground on Kipushi in DRC
The ceremony follows the outstanding results of the Kipushi 2022 feasibility study, Ivanhoe said, which evaluates the development of an 800,000 mt/y concentrator and underground mine, producing on average of 240,000 mt/y of zinc contained in concentrate over a 14- year life of mine. The successful commencement of commercial production would establish Kipushi as the world’s highest-grade major zinc mine, with an average head grade of 36.4% zinc over the first five years of production.
Existing, rehabilitated surface and underground infrastructure allow for significantly lower capital costs than comparable development projects. The estimated pre-production capital cost is $382 million. This infrastructure also allows for a relatively short construction timeline of two years, with the principal development activities being the construction of a conventional concentrator facility and supporting infrastructure, together with the restart of mining activities underground. Ordering of long-lead equipment is underway and early construction activities have commenced. Financing and offtake discussions, including a pre-payment facility of $250 million, are well advanced with several interested parties.
Before Kipushi was idled in 1993, Gécamines discovered the Big Zinc deposit at a depth of approximately 1,250 m below surface and adjacent to the producing Fault Zone. The Big Zinc The deposit has not been mined.
Since acquiring its interest in the Kipushi mine in 2011, Ivanhoe’s drilling campaigns have upgraded and expanded the mine’s zinc-rich measured and indicated mineral resources by more than double to an estimated 11.78 million mt grading 35.34% zinc, 0.80% copper, 23 grams/mt (g/mt) silver and 64 g/mt germanium, at a 7% zinc cutoff, containing 9.2 billion lb of zinc, 8.7 million oz of silver and 24.4 million oz of germanium.
The Kipushi mine, once in operation, will be powered by hydroelectric power and is set to be one of the world’s lowest Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emitters per mt of zinc metal produced.