TSX-listed Ivanhoe Mines has completed an independently verified, initial mineral resource estimate for the extremely-high-grade Kakula discovery on the Tier One Kamoa copper project near the mining centre of Kolwezi in the DRC’s Katanga Province. According to the company, the Kamoa/Kakula project – a joint venture between Ivanhoe, Zijin Mining and the DRC government – has now been confirmed as the largest copper discovery ever made on the African continent.
Kakula is the second major discovery on the Kamoa mining licence in the past eight years. Now, with the addition of Kakula’s mineral resources, research by Wood Mackenzie – a prominent, international industry research and consulting group based in the UK – has independently demonstrated that the Kamoa-Kakula project is the largest copper discovery in Zambia and the DRC, making it the largest copper discovery ever made in the history of mining on the African continent.
A drill rig in operation at Kakula in May this year (photo: Ivanhoe).
“With the initial resource now established, we are evaluating technical and infrastructure options to rapidly advance the development of the near-surface, highest-grade copper resources at Kakula,” said Robert Friedland, Executive Chairman of Ivanhoe. “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 centre of Kakula’s high-grade area.
“Given that the copper grades at Kakula are significantly higher than the average grades found elsewhere at Kamoa, we are highly confident that fast-tracking the development of Kakula will have a profound and positive impact on the economics of the overall Kamoa-Kakula project.”
The 60 km2 Kakula exploration area is approximately 10 km south-west of Kamoa’s initial mine development presently underway at the Kansoko Sud discovery.
The initial Kakula mineral resource estimate, prepared by Ivanhoe Mines under the direction of Amec Foster Wheeler E&C Services Inc of Reno, Nevada, in accordance with the 2014 CIM Definition Standards for Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves, puts the indicated resources at 192 Mt at a grade of 3,45 % copper, containing 14,6 billion pounds of copper at a 1 % copper cut-off. At a 2 % copper cut-off, indicated resources total 115 Mt at a 4,80 % copper grade, containing 12,1 billion pounds of copper. At a higher cut-off of 3 % copper, indicated resources total 66 Mt at a grade of 6,59 % copper, containing 9,6 billion pounds of copper.
Inferred resources total 101 Mt at a grade of 2,74 % copper, containing 6,1 billion pounds of copper at a 1 % copper cut-off. At a 2 % copper cut-off, inferred resources total 51 Mt at a 3,92 % copper grade, containing 4,4 billion pounds of copper. At a higher cut-off of 3 % copper, inferred resources total 27 Mt at a grade of 5,26 % copper, containing 3,2 billion pounds of copper.
The combined Kamoa-Kakula indicated mineral resources now total 944 Mt grading 2,83 % copper, containing 58,9 billion pounds of copper at a 1,0 % copper cut-off grade and a minimum thickness of 3 m.
With the initial Kakula estimate completed, Kamoa Copper has retained OreWin of Adelaide, Australia, to prepare a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) for the development of the Kakula deposit. The PEA, which is expected to be completed before the end of 2016, will concentrate on establishing the economic parameters of potential mining operations at Kakula, including capital and operating costs for an underground mine.