Ivanhoe eyes Q3 maiden resource estimate for major DRC copper discovery

15th August 2016 By: Natasha Odendaal - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – TSX-listed Ivanhoe Mines is preparing to embark on a preliminary economic assessment for its “game-changing” Kakula discovery as soon as it receives an initial, independent mineral resource estimate at the end of the third quarter of 2016.

The latest drilling results from the deposit within the Kamoa copper project, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), indicate the significance of the copper discovery, which Ivanhoe described as substantially “richer, thicker and more consistent” than other known mineralisation elsewhere on the project.

During the second quarter of the year, Ivanhoe-appointed contractor Titan Drilling Congo drilled some 30 holes, with another six in progress, resulting in 11 563 m of diamond drilling at Kakula, using seven drill rigs, with two on standby.

“As a result of the ongoing success of the Kakula programme and the extension along trend of the central, well-mineralised, chalcocite-rich core to the northwest and southeast at relatively shallow depths, the Kakula drilling programme has been expanded by an additional 9 000 m to a total of 34 000 m of exploration drilling,” Ivanhoe said in its second-quarter update to shareholders on Monday.

Further expansions to the drilling programme will be accelerated as the full scale of the find is unpacked.

Initial indicators for the 60 km2 Kakula exploration area, 10 km southwest of the Kamoa project’s planned initial mining area at Kansoko Sud, show an amenability to bulk, mechanised mining, which will have a significant, positive impact on the Kamoa project’s future development plans.

“[The] initial metallurgical test results received in July from a sample of drill core from exploration drilling in the Kakula discovery zone achieved copper recoveries of 86% and produced a copper concentrate with an extremely high grade of 53% copper,” Ivanhoe commented.

Ivanhoe explained that joint venture partner Zijin Mining Group tested a composite of drill holes DD996 and DD998, assaying 4.1% copper, at its laboratory, in China.

“As a comparison, testing of a previous development composite sample from the planned, initial mining deposit at Kamoa’s Kansoko Sud zone and the adjacent Kansoko Centrale zone, assaying 3.61% copper, achieved an 85% recovery and a concentrate grade of 37% copper,” the company pointed out.

Further, the results to date indicate that the material from Kamoa’s Kakula and Kansoko zones can be processed through the same concentrator plant, yielding significant operational and economic efficiencies.