The Kamoa-Kakula Copper Project – a joint venture between Ivanhoe Mines, Zijin Mining Group Co., Ltd. and the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo — has been independently ranked as the world's largest, undeveloped, high-grade copper discovery by international mining consultant Wood Mackenzie. It is a very large, near-surface, stratiform copper deposit with adjacent prospective exploration areas within the Central African Copperbelt, approximately 25 kilometres west of the town of Kolwezi and about 270 kilometres west of the provincial capital of Lubumbashi.

On February 26, Ivanhoe announced that the company has completed an independently verified, updated Mineral Resource estimate for the ultra-high-grade Kakula Discovery on the Kamoa-Kakula Copper Project, near the mining centre of Kolwezi in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The tier-one Kamoa-Kakula Project is a joint venture between Ivanhoe Mines, Zijin Mining and the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The updated Kakula Mineral Resource estimate, prepared under the direction of independent consultant Amec Foster Wheeler, covers a mineralized strike length of 13.3 kilometres. For the first time, the updated estimate incorporates Mineral Resources contained in the Kakula West Discovery area and the saddle area between the main Kakula Discovery area and Kakula West.

The new estimate boosts the total tonnage of Kakula’s Indicated Mineral Resources by 50%, at a 3% copper cut-off, compared to the previous Kakula resource estimate issued in May 2017 that covered a strike length of 7.7 kilometres.

Kakula’s new Indicated Mineral Resources at a 3% cut-off grade have increased by 58 million tonnes and currently total 174 million tonnes at a grade of 5.62% copper. This compares to the May 2017 estimate of 116 million tonnes at 6.09% copper, at the same cut-off grade. Estimated Inferred Mineral Resources now total an additional nine million tonnes at a grade of 3.66% copper, at a 3% cut-off.

At a 1% copper cut-off, Kakula’s Indicated Mineral Resources have increased by 58%, to now total 585 million tonnes at 2.92% copper.

Kamoa-Kakula mining licence, showing the Kamoa, Kakula and Kakula West Mineral Resource areas.

Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resources at a 1% copper cut-off grade, Kakula Deposit.

CategoryTonnage
(Mt)
Area
(km2)
Copper
(%)
Vertical
Thickness
(metres)
Contained
Copper
(kTonnes)
Contained
Copper
(billion lbs)1
Indicated58519.42.9210.817,10037.7
Inferred1135.51.907.32,1504.7

Notes:

  1. Ivanhoe’s Mineral Resources Manager George Gilchrist, a Member of the Geology Society of South Africa and Professional Natural Scientist (Pr. Sci. Nat) with the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP), estimated the Mineral Resources under the supervision of Dr. Harry Parker and Gordon Seibel, both Registered Members of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (RM SME), who are the Qualified Persons for the Mineral Resource estimate. The effective date of the estimate is February 23, 2018. Mineral Resources are estimated using the CIM Definition Standards for Mineral Resources and Reserves (2014).
  2. For Kakula, Mineral Resources are reported using a total copper (TCu) cut-off grade of 1% TCu and an approximate minimum thickness of 3.0 metres. There are reasonable prospects for eventual economic extraction under assumptions of a copper price of US$3.00/lb, employment of underground, mechanized, room-and-pillar and drift-and-fill mining methods, and that copper concentrates will be produced and sold to a smelter. Mining costs are assumed to be $42/t. Concentrator and general and administrative (G&A) costs are assumed to be $18/t. Metallurgical recovery is assumed to average 85%. Ivanhoe is studying (preliminary economic assessment in progress) reducing mining costs using a convergence backfill method.
  3. Reported Mineral Resources contain no allowances for hanging wall or footwall contact boundary loss and dilution. No mining recovery has been applied.
  4. Approximate drill hole spacings are 800 metres for Inferred Mineral Resources and 400 metres for Indicated Mineral resources.
  5. Rounding as required by reporting guidelines may result in apparent differences between tonnes, grade and contained metal content.

Kakula Deposit Indicated Mineral Resources, Sensitivity Cases.

CategoryCut-off Grade (Cu%)Tonnes (millions)Area (Sq. km)Copper GradeTrue Thickness (metres)Contained Copper (kTonnes)Contained Copper (billion lbs)
Indicated 7.0 41 2.2 8.07% 6.3 3,290 7.3
Indicated 6.0 67 3.6 7.46% 6.2 4,970 11.0
Indicated 5.0 98 5.7 6.82% 5.7 6,690 14.7
Indicated 4.0 140 9.0 6.13% 5.1 8,560 18.9
Indicated 3.0 174 12.3 5.62% 4.7 9,750 21.5
Indicated 2.5 208 14.4 5.14% 4.8 10,700 23.5
Indicated 2.0 330 16.6 4.07% 6.6 13,400 29.6
Indicated 1.5 420 18.0 3.55% 7.8 14,900 32.9
Indicated 1.0 585 19.4 2.92% 10.1 17,100 37.7

The footnotes to the Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resources table also apply to above table.

Kakula Deposit Inferred Mineral Resources, Sensitivity Cases.

CategoryCut-off Grade (Cu%)Tonnes (millions)Area (Sq. km)Copper GradeTrue Thickness (metres)Contained Copper (ktonnes)Contained Copper (billion lbs)
Inferred 4.0 2 0.2 4.17% 3.3 98 0.2
Inferred 3.0 9 0.8 3.66% 3.3 325 0.7
Inferred 2.5 17 1.7 3.20% 3.2 549 1.2
Inferred 2.0 44 3.2 2.59% 4.3 1,140 2.5
Inferred 1.5 69 4.5 2.26% 5.0 1,560 3.4
Inferred 1.0 113 5.5 1.90% 6.7 2,150 4.7

The footnotes to the Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resources table also apply to above table.

High-grade Kakula Discovery presents transformational opportunities for Kamoa-Kakula development

Mineralization at Kakula is substantively thicker and higher grade than mineralization found elsewhere on the Kamoa mining licence. It also is consistently bottom-loaded and will support the construction of SMZ composites at cut-offs of up to at least 3% copper. The lateral consistency of mineralization at these higher cut-offs presents significant opportunities for mine planning, with large areas of the resource having average grades in excess of 6% when using the SMZ at a cut-off of 3% copper.

The Kakula resource model was constructed using a series of nested grade shells at 1%, 2% and 3% cut-offs. A minimum thickness of 3.0 metres was applied to the 3% grade shell and the outer shells were nested above and below this central shell. The resultant model allows the flexibility to show distribution of grades and thicknesses across the various grade shells and highlights Kakula’s outstanding, high-grade potential.

Kakula and Kakula West discovery areas showing grades of Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resource blocks at a 3% copper cut-off.

Kakula and Kakula West discovery areas showing grade of Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resource blocks at a 1% copper cut-off.

The Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resource perimeters indicate a confidence classification. Cut-off criteria are applied within the perimeters to state Mineral Resources.

Kakula and Kakula West discovery areas showing the of Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resource blocks at a 1% copper cut-off.

Section along the axis of the Kakula Deposit on section showing drilling completed to date and composites at a 3% copper cut-off.

Consolidated Mineral Resource Statement, Kamoa-Kakula Project, February 2018.

DepositCategoryTonnes (millions)Area (sq. km)Copper GradeVertical Thickness
(metres)
Contained Copper (kt)Contained Copper (billion lbs)
Kamoa Indicated 759 50.7 2.57% 5.5 19,500 43.0
Inferred 202 19.4 1.85% 3.8 3,740 8.2
Kakula Indicated 585 19.4 2.92% 10.8 17,100 37.7
Inferred 113 5.5 1.90% 7.3 2,150 4.7
Total Kamoa-Kakula Copper Project Indicated 1,340 70.1 2.72% 6.9 36,600 80.7
Inferred 315 24.9 1.87% 4.6 5,890 13.0

Notes:

  1. Ivanhoe’s Mineral Resources Manager, George Gilchrist, Professional Natural Scientist (Pr. Sci. Nat) with the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP), estimated the Mineral Resources under the supervision of Dr. Harry Parker and Gordon Seibel, both Registered Members of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME), who are the Qualified Persons for the Mineral Resource estimate. The effective date of the estimate is February 23, 2018. Mineral Resources are estimated using the 2014 CIM Definition Standards for Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves. Mineral Resources at Kamoa are inclusive of Mineral Reserves. Mineral Resources that are not Mineral Reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability. No Mineral Reserves are currently estimated at Kakula.
  2. Mineral Resources at Kamoa are reported using a total copper (TCu) cut-off grade of 1% TCu and a minimum vertical thickness of 3 m. There are reasonable prospects for eventual economic extraction under assumptions of a copper price of US$3.00/lb; employment of underground mechanized room-and-pillar and drift-and-fill mining methods; and that copper concentrates will be produced and sold to a smelter. Mining costs are assumed to be US$27/t, and concentrator, tailings treatment, and general and administrative costs (G&A) are assumed to be US$17/t. Metallurgical recovery for Kamoa is estimated to average 84%. At a 1% TCu cut-off grade, assumed net smelter returns for 100% of Mineral Resource blocks will cover concentrator, tailings treatment, and G&A costs.
  3. Mineral Resources at Kakula are reported using a TCu cut-off grade of 1% TCu and an approximate minimum thickness of 3 m. There are reasonable prospects for eventual economic extraction under assumptions of a copper price of US$3.00/lb, employment of underground, mechanized, room-and-pillar and drift-and-fill mining methods, and that copper concentrates will be produced and sold to a smelter. Mining costs are assumed to be US$42/t and concentrator, tailings treatment, and G&A costs are assumed to be US$18/t. Metallurgical recovery is assumed to average 85% at the average grade of the Mineral Resource. Ivanhoe is studying reducing mining costs using a controlled convergence room-and-pillar method. At a 1% TCu cut-off grade, assumed net smelter returns for 100% of Mineral Resource blocks will cover concentrator, tailings treatment and G&A costs.
  4. Reported Mineral Resources contain no allowances for hangingwall or footwall contact boundary loss and dilution. No mining recovery has been applied.
  5. Tonnage and contained-copper tonnes are reported in metric units, contained-copper pounds are reported in imperial units and grades are reported as percentages.
  6. Rounding as required by reporting guidelines may result in apparent summation differences between tonnes, grade and contained metal content.
  7. Resources stated in above tables are not additive to this table.

Results of the Kakula-Kamoa 2017 preliminary economic assessment (PEA) and Kamoa pre-feasibility study (PFS).

On November 28, 2017, Ivanhoe Mines announced positive findings of an expanded, independent PEA for the development of the Kakula Discovery at the Kamoa-Kakula Project.

The three potential development scenarios examined include:

  1. Initial mine development scenario. The Kakula 2017 PEA evaluates the development of a six million-tonne-per-annum (Mtpa) underground mine and surface processing complex at the Kakula Deposit – a discovery announced in early 2016 – as the project’s first phase of development.
  2. Expanded, two-mine development scenario. The Kakula 2017 PEA also includes an option for an integrated, 12 Mtpa, two-stage development, beginning with initial production from the Kakula Mine, to be followed by a subsequent, separate underground mining operation at the nearby Kansoko Mine, along with the construction of a smelter.
  3. Kamoa 2017 pre-feasibility study (PFS). The Kamoa 2017 PFS evaluates the development of the Kansoko Mine as a stand-alone six Mtpa underground mine and surface processing complex that would be supplied with ore from the planned development of the Kansoko Sud and Kansoko Centrale areas of the Kamoa Deposit, which were discovered in 2008. The PFS refines the findings of the Kamoa March 2016 PFS, which envisaged a production rate of three Mtpa.

Summary of the PEA’s key results for an initial Kakula Mine

  1. Very-high-grade initial phase of production is projected to have a grade of 7.3% copper in year four and an average grade of 6.4% copper over the initial 10 years of operations, resulting in estimated average annual copper production of 284,000 tonnes.
  2. Annual copper production is estimated at 385,000 tonnes in year four.
  3. Initial capital cost, including contingency, is estimated at US$1.2 billion.
  4. Average total cash cost of US$1.14/lb of copper during the first 10 years.
  5. After-tax NPV, at an 8% discount rate, of US$4.2 billion.
  6. After-tax internal rate of return (IRR) of 36.2%, and a payback period of 3.1 years.
  7. Kakula is expected to produce a very-high-grade copper concentrate in excess of 50% copper, with extremely low arsenic levels.

Below are strip logs for five of the drill holes reported in September 2017: DD1163, on the eastern edge of Kakula West; DD1171, on the southwestern edge of Kakula West; DD1160, on the northern side of Kakula West; DD1167, on the northwest portion of the Kakula resource area; and DD1182, on the southwestern limit of the Kakula resource area.

Click here to view the full technical report titled: Kamoa-Kakula 2018 Resource Update, March 2018

Click here to view the Kakula 2016 Preliminary Economic Assessment, January 2017

In August 2015, Ivanhoe Mines, Fio Corporation and Chemonics International joined forces to fight malaria in the Democratic Republic of Congo

In March 2015, Ivanhoe's exploration team received the 2015 PDAC Thayer Lindsley International Discovery Award for Kamoa

Projects

  • Platreef Project
  • Kamoa-Kakula Project
  • Kipushi Project
  • Photo Gallery
  • Qualified Persons

    Qualified Persons under National Instrument 43-101 have reviewed and approved all of the scientific and technical information contained in the Project sections on this website. Ivanhoe Mines has published independent NI 43-101 technical reports for each of the Kamoa-Kakula, Platreef and Kipushi projects, which are available on this website under Investors > Technical Reports and also at www.sedar.com. These technical reports include relevant information regarding the effective date and the assumptions, parameters and methods of the mineral resource estimates and economic studies for the Kamoa-Kakula, Platreef and Kipushi projects in these Project sections.

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