Ivanhoe Mines has announced that exploration drilling at the Kamoa North prospect area has delineated two new, continuous corridors of shallow copper mineralization containing zones of thick, high-grade copper.
Central Africa - The newly delineated copper corridors occur on the western flank of the un-mineralized Kamoa Dome at Kamoa North in the DRC. The most significant corridor trends north and south for more than 9 km before swinging to the northwest and is projected to continue onto the adjacent Western Foreland exploration licences that are 100%-owned by Ivanhoe Mines.
The second corridor trends west-southwest, away from the dome and toward the West Scarp Fault, over a distance of 3 to 4 km.
“Our latest exploration success, at Kamoa North, provides additional options for mine planning and sequencing at Kamoa-Kakula,” says Ivanhoe Mines co-chairman, Robert Friedland.
“The unparalleled strength and continuity of the high-grade mineralized trends on the project also bode well for the potential for further success right next door, on Ivanhoe’s 700-square-kilometre Western Foreland exploration licences, north and west of Kamoa-Kakula.”
The tier-one project is a joint venture between Ivanhoe Mines, Zijin Mining and the DRC government.
An independent Mineral Resource estimate published last February established Kamoa-Kakula as the world’s fourth-largest copper discovery. Kamoa-Kakula’s copper grades are the highest, by a wide margin, of the world’s top 10 copper deposits.
The Kamoa North Exploration Area is approximately 12 km north of Kamoa’s Kansoko Mine development and approximately 20 km north of the Kamoa-Kakula Project’s planned initial mine at the Kakula Deposit.
The discovery area already is accessible by an all-season road that connects with the provincial road to Kolwezi and is close to the newly installed electricity line running from Kamoa North to the planned Kansoko and Kakula mines.
Kamoa North exploration success based on updated interpretation
Exploration drilling in 2017 and 2018 in the area targeted structural- and lithological-controlled grade trends recognized during the targeting reviews in early 2017 that identified multiple target areas on the mining licence.
Continuity of copper grades along these trends has been largely confirmed. Drilling will continue in 2018 and early 2019, with the intention of updating the Mineral Resource area in 2019.
The corridors are partly within the previously defined Inferred Mineral Resources, but the definition provided by additional drilling has allowed significantly increased continuity of grade to be established and then extended along strike into previously untested areas.
The recognition of high-grade trends in areas previously tested by wider-spaced drilling reflects a growing understanding of the controls on mineralization at Kamoa-Kakula.
Mineralization thicknesses range from 3 m up to 18 m at a 1% copper cut-off.
The mineralized horizon generally is in the region of 150 m to 300 m below surface, except on the west side of the West Scarp Fault, where it strikes roughly north–south and dips gently to the west at between five and 10 degrees.
“The discovery of these new, high-grade zones at clearly demonstrate Kamoa-Kakula’s remarkable potential to significantly increase the project’s current copper resources,” says Friedland.
“Kamoa-Kakula already is the world’s fourth-largest copper discovery on the planet in terms of contained copper.
“What our mining engineers find particularly attractive about the discovery is that the copper mineralization is thick, flat lying and relatively shallow.
"The high-grade copper also is generally bottom-loaded, similar to our earlier Kakula and Makoko discoveries, and should be ideally suited to mining at elevated copper cut-off grades.”
Friedland reiterates that Ivanhoe and Zijin are firmly committed to fast-tracking first mining operation at Kakula.
“Based on the findings of the independent preliminary economic assessment completed a year ago, the resources we’ve discovered at Kakula should allow Ivanhoe and Zijin to build a world-scale, highly-mechanized, underground copper mine producing at an initial mining rate of 6 Mtpa, and potentially amenable to subsequent stages of phased mine expansions up to 18 million tonnes a year, and beyond.”