Ivanhoe Mines and Zijin Mining jointly announced that they have agreed to complete Zijin’s investment in Ivanhoe’s Kamoa Copper project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on or before December 8. Zijin agreed in May this year to acquire, through a subsidiary company, a 49.5% interest in Kamoa Holding Ltd., an Ivanhoe subsidiary, for $412 million.

Recently, constructive and cordial negotiations between Ivanhoe Mines, Zijin and senior DRC government officials have established an agreed course of action to develop the Kamoa project, explained Robert Friedland, executive chairman of Ivanhoe Mines.

“All conditions to completion have been satisfied or waived and the investment will be completed on or before December 8, 2015, in Hong Kong,” Friedland said. “The conclusion of this transaction is a major step toward the realization of significant benefits for all of the stakeholders of Ivanhoe and Zijin, as well as for the Congolese people.”

With indicated mineral resources of 739 million metric tons (mt) grading 2.67% copper, containing 43.5 billion lb of copper, and inferred mineral resources of 227 million mt grading 1.96% copper, containing 9.8 billion lb of copper (at a 1% copper cut off), Kamoa is independently regarded as Africa’s largest, high-grade copper discovery and the world’s biggest, undeveloped high-grade copper discovery.

The 2013 Kamoa preliminary economic assessment (PEA) reflects a two-phased approach to development (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tb3v8OBHhs0). The first phase of mining will target high-grade copper mineralization from shallow, underground resources to produce approximately 100,000 mt of contained copper per year in a high-value concentrate.

The Kamoa PEA estimated that the pre-production capital required for its first phase of development would be approximately $1.4 billion. The proposed second phase will entail a major expansion of the mine and mill, and construction of a smelter to produce approximately 300,000 mt of blister copper each year. The Kamoa prefeasibility study is progressing and the completed report is expected to be finalized in early 2016.