Ivanhoe hits more high grades at Kakula

Flory Wavumba Ilunga Drilling rock-bolt holes into the ceiling of the new water dam being constructed at Kakula. Image from Ivanhoe.

Ivanhoe Mines (TSX: IVN) reported on Wednesday that crews at the Kakula mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) began mining and stockpiling ore with an average grade greater than 8% copper, with underground development approximately 4.4 kilometres ahead of schedule.

At the end of May, Kakula’s high-grade, pre-production ore stockpile is forecast to contain 105,000 tonnes grading 5.95% copper.

Kakula’s initial production is on track for third quarter of 2021

Early implementation of covid-19 prevention measures has allowed the development of Kakula to continue uninterrupted and initial production is on track for the third quarter of 2021, Ivanhoe said.

Mine development work at the Platreef palladium-platinum-nickel-copper-gold-rhodium project in South Africa was temporarily suspended in late March in compliance with the country-wide lockdown imposed by the South African Government. Operations resumed in late April with reduced staff.

Operations at Kipushi zinc-copper mine, also in the DRC remain temporarily suspended.

Ivanhoe said in a release that an updated Integrated Development Plan for the entire Kamoa-Kakula mining complex remain on schedule for Q3 2020.

The company declared cash savings of up to $75 million in Q1 and $603.4 million in cash and cash equivalents.

Billionaire Robert Friedland, who made his fortune from the Voisey’s Bay nickel project in Canada in the 1990s, has been working on Kamoa-Kakula for ten years.

The mining legend believes the project, being developed in partnership with China’s Zijin Mining Group, will become the world’s second-largest copper mine.

According to an independent pre-feasibility study (PFS) released last year, if all phases are completed, the operation is expected to reach peak annual production of more than 700,000 tonnes of copper.

Ivanhoe’s stock was down 3.6% on the TSX on Wednesday afternoon. The company has a C$3.18 billion market capitalization.

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