Canadian mining company Ivanhoe Mines is set to begin mining exploration activities after it secured greenfield prospecting rights in the country from the Angolan National Agency for Mineral Resources.

The grant pertains to 22,195km² of greenfield prospecting rights for exploration in the Angolan provinces of Moxico and Cuando Cubango.

Ivanhoe secured the rights during this year’s Angolan Mining Conference in Luanda on 23 November 2023.

These exploration activities are expected to begin after Ivanhoe completes team mobilisation this year.

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The prospecting rights for the 22,195km² area have so far limited prior exploration conducted.

Similar to Kamoa-Kakula licences, the greenfield area is covered by Kalahari sand and Karoo volcanics across most of the area where conventional exploration is less effective.

Ivanhoe plans to utilise the experience that it developed during Kamoa-Kakula exploration and Western Foreland exploration in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

In the first quarter of next year, the company aims to conduct a reconnaissance visit across the licences to scout access, logistics and potential locations for a central camp.

In the following quarter, it will begin airborne magnetics, gravity and electro-magnetics geophysical surveys, and carry out a baseline soil geochemistry survey.

It will conduct a geochemistry survey over a specific area to test soil geochemistry responses through the cover sequences.

Later in the year, it will conduct air-core and stratigraphic diamond drilling for validation of preliminary geological interpretations.

The company has committed to an investment of at least $10m (C$13.59m) for initial exploration.

Ivanhoe founder and executive co-chairman Robert Friedland said: “Ivanhoe Mines has an exceptional track record of discovering tier-one deposits in new frontiers…and we are now commencing exploration activities in the underexplored regions of Angola that we believe could host an extension of the Central African Copperbelt.

“We are incredibly privileged to own 100% of a massive exploration land package with outstanding geological potential. We will be deploying our in-depth, proprietary geological insights gained from Ivanhoe’s exploration team in the Western Foreland and at Kamoa-Kakula.

“We thank the government of Angola for welcoming Ivanhoe Mines and entrusting us to explore their vast mineral endowment. Our goal is to make Angola a globally significant producer of strategic minerals that our planet so desperately needs, for many generations to come.”

In Q1 2022, Ivanhoe reported that its Kamoa copper mine in the DRC achieved a production record of 55,602 tonnes.

During the quarter, 1.08 million ore tonnes were milled at an average feed grade of 5.91% copper.