JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The revised preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for TSX-listed Ivanhoe’s Kamoa copper discovery in the Democratic Republic of Congo was currently being finalised.
The company said on Tuesday that the PEA aimed to deliver the best balance of a lower initial capital cost and shortest time to first production of a major mine, mill and smelting operation.
To this end, the Kamoa project, a newly discovered, very large, stratiform copper deposit, with adjacent prospective exploration areas within the Central African copperbelt, would be developed into a large mine and smelter in two phases.
The first phase of mining would target high-grade copper mineralisation from shallow, underground resources to yield a high-value concentrate.
“Initial mill feed would come from Kansoko Sud and lead into the Centrale area of Kamoa's gently dipping mineralised zones that collectively contain estimated indicated resources of 224-million tonnes grading 3.85% copper,” Ivanhoe said in its review of third-quarter operations.
Drilling was under way in the Kansoko Sud and Kansoko Centrale regions to obtain samples for the next phase of testwork.
The two areas constituted the bulk of the material to be mined during the first phase of development and were important for the Phase 1 concentrator design.
The second phase would entail a major expansion of the mine and mill and construction of a large smelter.
The PEA, expected to be completed later this year, would be followed by the completion of a comprehensive development study within the second half of next year to declare an initial estimate of mineral reserves.
“The start-up scenario to be examined in the PEA and development study will consider the sale of copper concentrates as an interim measure pending Ivanhoe's completion of its planned smelter in the vicinity of the Kamoa project,” the group noted.
Additional studies were under way to advance the geotechnical, engineering and metallurgical understanding of Kamoa in support of the development study.
Ivanhoe pointed out that 13 513 m over 79 holes had been drilled during the third quarter of the year. Over 8 632 m had been drilled for resource evaluation on the Kansoko Sud and Kansoko Centrale areas, while 4 048 m were drilled for metallurgical testing in the Kansoko Sud, Kamoa Sud and Kansoko Centrale areas.
Further, the company had undertaken 357 m of variability testing, 295 m of hydrogeology drilling and 181 m of geotechnical drilling during the period under review.
Ivanhoe currently boasted seven drill rigs on the site.