Ivanhoe Mines announced hat underground development at the Kakula Copper Mine continues to exceed expectations with more than 17 kilometres now complete, which is 5.1 kilometres ahead of schedule. In June, the mining team achieved 1,729 metres of underground development, 575 metres ahead of plan for the month. Kakula’s 2,000-tonne-per-hour ore conveyor system began operations in June, which will further increase the mine’s pace of underground development.
The majority of the development headings at the Kakula Mine currently are traversing medium-grade sections of the orebody, with average grades ranging between 3% and 5% copper. Several development headings are continuing in high-grade zones grading more than 8% copper, and this ore is being placed on a dedicated, high-grade surface stockpile at Kakula North that now totals approximately 68,000 tonnes grading an estimated 5.90% copper. The medium-grade surface stockpiles at Kakula North, Kakula South and Kansoko together contain an additional 394,000 tonnes grading an estimated 2.71% copper.
As Kakula’s underground development progresses over the next few months, the majority of the headings are expected to transition into the high-grade ore zones.
More than 200 truck loads, consisting mainly of structural steel and equipment for Kakula’s initial 3.8-million-tonne-per-annum processing plant, were received on site in June and construction of the plant is progressing rapidly. Fabrication of the plant’s largest components – two ball mills each measuring 9.75 metres long and 6.1 metres (20 feet) in diameter – has been completed at CITIC Heavy Industries’ factory in Luoyang, China, and shipping of the components is underway.
The Kamoa-Kakula Copper Project is a joint venture between Ivanhoe Mines (39.6%), Zijin Mining Group (39.6%), Crystal River Global Limited (0.8%) and the DRC government (20%).