Ivanhoe Nickel & Platinum announces a major copper discovery at its Kamoa Project in Katanga Province
Thursday, April 2nd, 2009
Robert M. Friedland, Chairman of Ivanhoe Nickel & Platinum (Ivanplats) and Ivanhoe Capital Corporation, recently announced in an opening keynote address at the 8th World Copper Conference that Ivanplats has made a major copper discovery of historic importance at its 100%-owned Kamoa Project, west of Kolwezi, in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Katanga province.
Sharing the news with a large audience of copper industry principals, representatives of financial institutions and investors, Mr. Friedland said that drilling at Kamoa has discovered laterally continuous, sediment-hosted, high-grade stratiform copper mineralization in a newly discovered copper district that forms a previously unrecognized western extension of the famous Central African Copperbelt – which hosts such world-class deposits such as Kolwezi, Tenke-Fungurume, Konkola and Nchanga.
“Our Kamoa discovery confirms the hypothesis of our exploration team, led by Executive Vice President of Exploration, David Broughton, that the western end of the Copperbelt in Congo does not terminate at Kolwezi,” Mr. Friedland said.
Speaking following the conference inauguration by Santiago Gonzalez, Chile’s Minister of Mines, and a keynote presentation by Jose Pablo Arellano, President and CEO of Chile’s state-owned copper miner, Codelco, Mr. Friedland expressed confidence that Kamoa will become a world-class mining camp of great importance to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“This vast Kamoa discovery, and the discoveries by Ivanhoe Mines at Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia, are the type of world-scale mineral systems needed to supply the copper for the electrification of the global economy, to usher in the era of the electric car and to reduce our planet’s consumption of hydrocarbons,” Mr. Friedland said.
“In a newly carbon-conscious world, everybody is going to become aware that copper is the green metal,” he added. “Given the challenges of the environmental priorities of America’s Obama administration, and of the aspirations and urbanization that emerging economies throughout Africa share with many nations, copper is the metal of our time.”
Underscoring the significance of the discovery, Mr. Broughton said, “We believe Kamoa represents the discovery of a previously unrecognized and richly endowed district within the Central African Copperbelt – geologically distinct, yet geographically next door to the well-known Kolwezi deposits. Our geophysical data indicate that the area on our tenements underlain by the Kamoa target horizon is on the order of 1,000 square kilometers, which we are systematically exploring.”
The Kamoa discovery occurs within a regional, northeast-southwest-trending structural corridor identified by Ivanplats’ pioneering, high-resolution, airborne magnetic survey – which was the first such survey to be flown in the area. The structural corridor has been traced for approximately 35 kilometres within Ivanplats’ exploration licences. Detailed geochemical surveys within the corridor discovered subtle copper-in-soil anomalies associated with five structural domes.
Follow-up reverse-circulation and diamond drilling at the northernmost dome, Kamoa Centrale, resulted in the discovery in mid-2008 of high grades and significant widths of stratiform copper mineralization in an area Copperbelt geologists previously thought to be barren.
Recognizing the potential for a major orebody, and prior to the onset of the seasonal sub-equatorial rains, Ivanplats launched an aggressive drilling program, with holes spaced one to five kilometers apart. This program confirmed and extended the mineralization over an open-ended area of approximately 74 square kilometers, surrounding Kamoa Centrale and part of the adjacent dome. The three southernmost structural domes, each with copper-in-soil anomalies similar to Kamoa Centrale, will not be drilled until the dry season, beginning in May – presenting another opportunity for further discoveries and expansion of the Kamoa mineralization.
Following the discovery, Ivanplats upgraded more than 30 kilometres of roads to permit drill access during the rains and completed an infill drilling program at 800-metre by 800-metre centres over the southern portion of Kamoa Centrale. This comprises an area of 11 square kilometers, representing 15% of the discovery area, and less than 10% of the area of the 35-kilometre-long structural corridor. The infill program now has confirmed the high grade, significant width and consistency of the Kamoa mineralization and will form the basis of an initial independent resource estimation. A total of 63 diamond and 44 reverse-circulation holes, totalling 27,028 metres, have been drilled to date.
The Kamoa geology and copper mineralization have important similarities to the laterally extensive stratiform copper deposits found in Poland’s Kupferschiefer (copper shale). In Poland’s Lubin district, the fourth-largest copper mining district in the world, the stratiform copper deposits extend over an area approximately 25 kilometres by 35 kilometres and have been mined for more than 40 years, with 2007 annual production totalling more than 530,000 tonnes of copper metal.
In addition to the Kamoa discovery, African Mining Consultants, of Kitwe, Zambia, which is contracted to conduct Ivanplats’ exploration in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has identified and is exploring more than 70 additional copper targets within Ivanplats’ tenements in the Copperbelt.
Mr. Friedland said that Kamoa will advance the Democratic Republic of Congo’s stature as one of the world’s most important copper producers. “Kamoa will become an important pillar of the country’s economy and help to build sustainable livelihoods and sustainable communities through social and economic programs responsive to local needs – all of which is extremely good news in the heart of Africa.”
Lars-Eric Johansson, Ivanplats’ President and CEO, said the company has been encouraged by the support received from the Ministry of Mines and other government departments for the company’s investment in drilling in the previously unexplored Kamoa district.
AMEC retained to prepare initial 43-101 resource report for Kamoa
Given the significance of the drill results received to date, Ivanplats has retained Dr. Harry Parker, P. Geo., Technical Director of the London-based international consulting firm AMEC E&C Services (AMEC), to prepare the initial 43-101 independent resource estimate for the Kamoa Project.
Ivanplats also is planning an aggressive 2009 diamond drilling program to further explore and delineate resources within this region.
“We are confident that the initial resource estimate will provide us with the basis to move forward with an independent economic assessment of the project,” Mr. Broughton said. “The magnitude of the Kamoa discovery also highlights the prospectivity of Ivanplats’ extensive, 100%-owned exploration tenements covering nearly 14,000 square kilometres within the African Copperbelt in the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
For further information visit: www.ivanhoe-mines.com