Ivanhoe Mines recently announced that its Kamoa exploration team made a new tier-one, high-grade and flat-lying stratiform copper discovery in the Kakula exploration area. Kakula is within the 400-sq-km Kamoa mining license area and represents a major extension of the Kamoa copper deposit, which the company discovered in 2008. The Kamoa copper project is a joint venture between Ivanhoe Mines and Zijin Mining.

Two exploration drill holes completed in late 2015 in the Kakula exploration area rank among the highest-grade and highest-grade-thickness intersections drilled to date within the Kamoa copper deposit license area.

One drill hole intersected 24.16 meters of 3.48% copper, at a 1% copper cutoff. At a higher cutoff of 2% copper, the intersection was 13.16 m of 5.26% copper. The second drill hole intersected 18.75 meters of 4.64% copper at a 1% copper cutoff and 15.17 meters of 5.33% copper at a 2% copper cutoff.

“The Kamoa copper deposit already is distinguished as the world’s largest, undeveloped, high-grade copper discovery,” said Robert Friedland, executive chairman of Ivanhoe Mines. “The Kakula Discovery has the combination of significant thickness, high grades and strike length that holds promise for significant and rapid expansion of the Kamoa copper deposit.

“The Kakula discovery not only shows the potential to substantially increase the size of the Kamoa copper deposit, it also highlights the potential for new discoveries to the west of Kolwezi in the Congolese copperbelt.”

Significant mineralization in the Kakula area was discovered in 2014. At the end of 2014, 21 holes had been drilled in the area, of which six had significant copper mineralization. Based on results from the 2014 program, Ivanhoe defined three areas of exploration potential at Kakula, covering a total area of 60 square km. Using the results from the holes drilled in the Kakula discovery area, Ivanhoe has defined an exploration target of between 580 million and 870 million metric tons at grades ranging from 1.5% to 2.3% copper.

The Kamoa copper project is a very large, stratiform copper deposit with adjacent prospective exploration areas within the Central African Copperbelt, approximately 25 km west of the town of Kolwezi and about 270 km west of Lubumbashi. The original Kamoa copper deposit was discovered by Ivanplats in 2008, which was renamed Ivanhoe Mines in 2013. Mine development work at the Kamoa Copper Project began in July 2014.

Kamoa Holding Ltd., which is owned 49.5% by Ivanhoe Mines, owns 95% of the Kamoa copper project. Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd. owns a 49.5% share interest in Kamoa Holding, which it acquired from Ivanhoe in December. The remaining 1% interest in Kamoa Holding is held by privately owned Crystal River Global Ltd.