Weatherly International has announced that ASX-listed Intrepid Mines has approved Weatherly’s acquisition of the Kitumba copper project in Zambia.
Weatherly is also pleased to announce the outline of its project development plan for Kitumba focused initially on a high-grade and high-confidence Phase 1 development zone within the resource.
Kitumba purchase update
One of the conditions precedent for acquisition of the Kitumba project by Weatherly was Intrepid shareholder approval.
Remaining conditions precedent include Zambian regulatory approval by the Zambian Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development plus by the Zambian Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.
Kitumba project development plan outline
The published JORC-compliant measured and indicated mineral resource at Kitumba, with an effective date of 29 July 2015, contains 24.9 Mt at 2.32% Cu using a cut-off grade of 1% Cu.
The mineral resource contains a combination of copper oxide minerals, supergene enriched sulphide minerals and primary sulphide minerals.
Previous development plans for Kitumba were based on large scale and high capital cost development of the entire resource from the outset, and also included a decision to follow a relatively complex processing route using pressure oxidation to oxidize the sulphide minerals so that all of the contained copper could be leached and electro-won on site to produce copper cathode only.
Weatherly intends to pursue a two-phase development approach focused initially on a Phase 1 development zone of higher-confidence and higher-grade mineralisation within the overall resource at Kitumba.
The underground mine plan will be revised to focus on this Phase 1 development area, with capital expenditure reduced to suit a Phase 1 mining production rate of 0.75 to 1.0 Mtpa of ore.
Further, Weatherly intends to evaluate a lower risk and lower cost processing route utilising a combination of flotation and atmospheric leaching plus solvent-extraction and electro-winning to produce a concentrate containing the sulphide minerals for sale to local smelters, plus producing refined copper cathode from the oxide minerals within the resource.
To assist with this work, Weatherly engaged The MSA Group to provide an updated JORC-compliant mineral resource estimate using a 2% Cu cut-off grade.
They have now completed that work and the measured and indicated mineral resource estimate at a 2% Cu cut-off grade comprises 9.5 Mt at 3.6% Cu, containing 342 000 tons of copper, with 5.3 Mt at 4.04% Cu classified as Measured, and 4.2 Mt at 3.05% Cu classified as indicated.
The higher-confidence of the higher-grade portion of the mineral resource is demonstrated by the fact that 56% of the tonnage and 63% of the contained metal is in the higher-confidence measured category, compared with the previously reported estimate at the lower cut-off grade which had 39% of the resource tonnage and 49% of the metal in the measured category.
Feature image credit: Wikipedia