Ivanhoe Mines has stated that the indicated mineral resources at Kakula Copper Discovery on the Kamoa-Kakula copper project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have increased by 50% following completion of an independently verified, updated estimate.
Covering a mineralised strike length of 13.3km, the updated resource estimate also includes mineral resources contained in the Kakula West Discovery area and the saddle area between the main Kakula Discovery area and Kakula West.
Ivanhoe owns the mine as part of a joint venture (JV) with Zijin Mining and the government of the DRC.
Based on the estimate, Kakula contains indicated mineral resources and inferred mineral resources of 174 million tonnes and an additional nine million tonnes respectively at a 3% cut-off grade.
Ivanhoe Mines executive chairman Robert Friedland said: “The new, independently verified resource estimate now places Kamoa-Kakula ahead of Indonesia’s renowned Grasberg Deposit as the world’s fourth-largest copper discovery on the planet in terms of contained copper.
“The exceptionally high copper grades, thicknesses, and continuity of the mineralisation at Kakula distinguish this discovery from anything else in the Central African Copperbelt.
“With this initial mineral resource estimate at Kakula West, we can begin to evaluate technical and infrastructure options to expeditiously develop the zones of thick, high-grade, bottom-loaded chalcocite in this latest discovery area.”
The company noted that additional data obtained from ongoing gravity and geophysical seismic surveys will assist in assessing the direction and extent of Kakula’s mineralised zone.
Surveys are aimed at identifying new exploration targets on the Kamoa-Kakula mining licence.
Since April 2016, JV partners have been engaged in a drilling programme at the Kakula Discovery, around 10km south-west of Kamoa’s initial Kansoko mine development.
According to Ivanhoe, the programme is scheduled to continue through this year as the company intends to proceed with its plan to build an underground copper mine.