JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – TSX-listed Ivanhoe Mines’ Kakula discovery, at its Kamoa-Kakula copper project, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), now contains indicated resources of 116-million tonnes at 6.09% copper, plus inferred resources of 12-million tonnes at 4.45% copper, at a 3% cutoff.
The new estimate further boosted the combined Kamoa-Kakula indicated mineral resources to around one-billion tonnes, at 3.02% copper, plus another 191-million tonnes of inferred resources at 2.37% copper, at a 1.4% cutoff.
The new mineral resource estimate covers a strike length of 7.7 km and boosts the tonnage of Kakula's estimated indicated resources by 75%, compared with the October 2016 resource estimate – which covered a strike length of 4.1 km.
"With 12 rigs currently drilling at Kakula and Kakula West and another two rigs about to begin testing important new targets on the licence area, Kakula is an international story of discovery that has earned the mining world's attention," said Ivanhoe chairperson Robert Friedland.
"To keep the mine planning process driving forward, we need to provide the mining engineers with updated resource numbers for the expanded-case preliminary economic assessment due to be issued in the third quarter," he added.
CEO Lars-Eric Johansson added that the copper grades at Kakula were significantly higher than the average grades found at the adjacent, earlier Kamoa discovery.
“We’re highly confident that fast-tracking mine development at Kakula will have a profound, positive impact on the economics of the overall Kamoa-Kakula project.
"Kakula alone already has enough resources, grading 6% copper or higher, to maintain 20 years of mining at a rate of six-million tonnes a year. We're also confident that Kakula West has similar potential."
The new Kakula resource estimate covers two-thirds of the known strike extent of the high-grade, chalcocite-rich Kakula trend, which now is approaching 12 km, and remains open along strike in both directions.
Kamoa-Kakula geologists are now planning for a resource estimate at the newly discovered Kakula West area, located 3 km west of the new Kakula resource boundary.
Nearly 200 km2 of the 400 km2 Kamoa-Kakula project area remains untested, with more drill tests planned. "The potential exists to find another Kakula. Or perhaps something even better," Friedland said.