Ivanhoe Adds New Resources to Kamoa-Kakula Project Planning

Ivanhoe Mines has published an initial resource estimate for the recently discovered Kakula deposit approximately 10 kilometers (km) southwest of the Kamoa deposit on the Kamoa-Kakula copper project west of the mining center of Kolwezi in southeast Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The project, previously called the Kamoa project, is now the Kamoa-Kakula project. The project is a joint venture between Ivanhoe Mines, Zijin Mining and the DRC government.

One of seven drills working at the Kakula Discovery,
10 km southwest of the Kamoa project’s Kansoko Sud box cut. (Photo Ivanhoe Mines)

Mine development is currently under way on the Kamoa deposit. However, “with the initial resource now established at Kakula, Ivanhoe is evaluating technical and infrastructure options to rapidly advance the development of the near-surface, highest-grade copper resources at Kakula,” Ivanhoe Executive Chairman Robert Friedland said. “Our mine planning will focus on how to expeditiously develop the zones of thick, bottom-loaded chalcocite, grading in excess of 6% copper, near the center of Kakula’s high-grade area.”

Current planning for development of the Kamoa deposit calls for construction and operation of a 3-million-metric-tons-per-year (mt/y) underground mine, concentrator and associated infrastructure to produce about 100,000 mt/y of copper in concentrate. A planned second phase would entail a major expansion of the mine and mill and construction of a smelter to produce blister copper.

Highlights of the initial Kakula mineral resources estimate at a 1% copper cutoff include indicated resources of 192 million mt at a grade of 3.45% copper, containing 14.6 billion lb of copper, and inferred resources of 101 million mt at a grade of 2.74% copper, containing 6.1 billion lb of copper. The average true thickness of Kakula’s “selective mineralized zone” at a 1% cutoff is 14.27 meters (m) in the indicated resources area and 10.33 m in the inferred resources area.

Combined Kamoa-Kakula indicated mineral resources now total 944 million mt, grading 2.83% copper, containing 58.9 billion lb of copper at a 1% copper cutoff and a minimum thickness of 3 m.

Mineralization at Kakula is substantively thicker and higher grade than elsewhere on the Kamoa mining license. Given the success to date in delineating high-grade Kakula copper resources, the drilling program has been expanded by 60,000 m and will continue unabated into 2017. Four rigs are drilling step-out holes to the southeast and northwest of Kakula’s currently defined high-grade core. One rig is drilling infill holes to expand the indicated mineral resource, while a sixth rig is focusing on shallow drilling to define stratigraphy and the weathering profile in the area outlined for a potential box cut.

Waterberg PFS Considers 744,000 oz/y PGM Production

Platinum Group Metals Ltd. has reported positive results from an independent prefeasibility study (PFS) of the Waterberg platinum group metals project at the northern end of the Northern Limb of the Bushveld Complex in South Africa. Platinum Group Metals holds a 58.62% effective interest in the project; Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. holds 28.35%; and empowerment partner Mnombo Wethu Consultants holds the remainder.

The PFS considers development of a large, shallow, decline-accessible, mechanized mine producing 744,000 ounces per year (oz/y) of platinum, palladium, rhodium, and gold (4E) in concentrate (222,000 oz/y of platinum, 472,000 oz/y of palladium, 6,000 oz/y of rhodium, and 45,000 oz/y of gold.) Probable reserves at the project total 12.3 million 4E oz.

Capital expenditures to full production are estimated at approximately $1.06 billion, including $67 million in contingencies. On-site life-of-mine average cash costs of production are estimated at $248/4E oz, including byproduct credits and exclusive of smelter discounts. Near-term planning calls for completion of a feasibility study and filing of a mining right application.

Mine production will be from a low-cost, multidecline, fully mechanized mining complex along an initial 13-km deposit strike length, with two 300,000-mt/m mills and a modeled 18-year mine-life. A fleet of about 400 trackless machines, including drill rigs, loaders, dump trucks, and other trackless machines, will be used for mining and development. A minimum mining width has been set at 3 m so that all mining can be fully mechanized, safe and efficient.

Flotation test work indicates that the Waterberg ores are amenable to treatment by conventional flotation without the need for regrinding. The PFS assumes that the flotation concentrate will be sold to or toll treated at South African smelters and refineries.

Platinum Group Metals plans to continue drilling the deposit and to advance the project to completion of a feasibility study and a construction decision.