Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. [IVN-TSX; IVPAF-OTC] announced Monday August 19 that drilling in the central part of the in the Democratic Republic of Congo has returned the highest ever copper grade reported so far from the site.
The company said drilling in the central part of the Kamoa North Bonanza Zone has returned another visually spectacular intersection of thick, ultra-high-grade copper mineralization.
While assays for the hole (DD1571) are pending, NIton (X-ray fluorescence or XRF) analysis on core from the hole returned copper grades of 18% over 18.86 metres, at a 2% copper cut-off grade, beginning at a down hole depth of 209 metres.
“These Niton readings make this the highest-grade intersection ever drilled on the Kamoa-Kakula Project,” the company said in a press release on Monday.
Ivanhoe shares advanced on the news, rising 2.86% or $0.105 to $3.77. The shares are trading in a 52-week range of $2 and $4.54.
Headed by financier Robert Friedland, the company’s Chairman, Ivanhoe is developing the Kamoa-Kakula mining complex in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A joint venture between Ivanhoe Mines, China’s Zijin Mining, and the DRC government, it is expected to be among the world’s biggest copper mines. Peak annual production is expected to exceed 700,000 tonnes.
A resource estimate released in February, 2018 states that Kamoa-Kakula contains an indicated mineral resource of 1.03 billion tonnes at 3.17% copper, or 72 billion pounds of copper, plus an additional 182 million tonnes of inferred mineral resources at 2.31% copper at a 1.5% cut-off.
Kamoa-Kakula is one of three projects that the company is advancing in Southern Africa. They also include:
- Mine development at the Platreef platinum-palladium-gold-nickel copper discovery on the Northern Limb of South Africa’s Bushveld Complex.
- The high-grade Kipushi zinc-copper-silver-germanium mine, which is located in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Last year, Ivanhoe signed a long-term strategic co-operation and investment agreement with CITIC Metal, which is a subsidiary of the Chinese state-owned CITIC Group.
Under the original agreement, Ivanhoe issued 196.6 million common shares to CITIC Metal through a private placement priced at $2.68 per share, yielding proceeds of $723 million (US$560 million).
As a result, CITIC emerged as Ivanhoe’s largest single shareholder with a 19.9% stake in the company, ahead of Friedland’s 17% interest.
More recently, on August 16, 2019, Ivanhoe said CITIC Metal Co. Ltd. had invested an additional $612 million in Ivanhoe at $3.98 a share.
Friedland has said the latest investment by CITIC has provided Ivanhoe with the equity cushion required to fast-track Kamoa-Kakula’s 6 million tonne per annum Phase 1 mine to production.
On August 16, 2019, Ivanhoe said it had also received an additional $67 million from Zijin Mining through the exercise of anti-dilution rights
In a press release Monday, Ivanhoe cautioned that Niton XRF readings are not the same as laboratory assays and are not an estimate of resource grades prepared in accordance with NI 43-101 standards of disclosure as required by regulatory authorities in Canada.
However, based on more than 1,570 holes drilled to date at the Kamoa-Kakula Project and the high degree of correlation between Niton XRF readings and assay results, the company is confident that these data readings are highly useful in confirming and shaping the next stage of the delineation drilling program.