Canadian mining organization Ivanhoe Mines’ Western Foreland exploration licences, situated to the west of the tier-just one Kamoa-Kakula copper undertaking, is a vital pipeline asset for the corporation, which it believes can yield added large-grade copper discoveries within just the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Despite remaining centered on executing development and enhancement things to do at the Kamoa-Kakula, Platreef and Kipushi initiatives, the firm has exploration in its DNA and corporation founder and government co-chair, Robert Friedland, is often in research of the subsequent globe-scale discovery, writes CHANTELLE KOTZE.
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Owning amassed a wealth of geological and associated specialized data about the Western Foreland area for the duration of the discovery and improvement of the nearby Kamoa-Kakula venture, Ivanhoe Mines has put in the earlier two decades securing the a variety of exploration licenses that now make up the Western Foreland exploration undertaking.
In accordance to Ivanhoe Mines VP for assets George Gilchrist, the Western Foreland exploration venture is composed of 17 licences to the north, south and west of Kamoa-Kakula. These licences were being discovered dependent on the fascinating possible for the extension of the geological terrain that hosts the higher-quality mineralisation at Kamoa-Kakula. The 17 licences cover a merged spot of around 2 550 km2 of ground which the company’s geological team has prioritised as the most promising for even more substantial-grade copper discoveries.
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“Because the region has noticed almost no contemporary exploration, we will be making out the infrastructure necessary to obtain and explore the broader land package, mapping the area and leveraging our proprietary databases to prioritise the discovery targets that comprise Kamoa-Kakula-design copper mineralisation,” states Gilchrist.
In pursuit of the future major copper discovery in the DRC
Possessing productively prolonged the Kamoa copper deposit (to start with found in 2008) with the discovery of the Kakula deposit in January 2016, Ivanhoe embarked on exploration to the west of Kakula in 2017 to check the bordering area along the Central African Copperbelt. This resulted in the company’s 3rd copper third discovery – Makoko, which was discovered 20 km from Kakula, on the similar potential horizon as both Kamoa and Kakula.
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Makoko shares qualities with the Kamoa Significantly North Discovery and the recent Kiala Discovery – both of those of which adjoin the northern boundary of the Kamoa-Kakula mining licence to the Western Foreland exploration licences, and which have the opportunity to host high-grade copper zones.
Makoko was to begin with drilled above an place measuring 4.5 km x 1.5 km, with new drilling intercepting sizeable copper mineralisation above an added 7.5 km of strike south-west of the preliminary discovery place. The Makoko discovery hole, DD004, returned 3.94 m (real width) grading 5.46% copper starting from 306 m downhole. Other holes ended up similarly significant-grade, with DD010 intersecting 3.21 m (correct width) of 6.78% copper, setting up from 441 m and DD017 chopping 3.19 m (correct width) of 6.49% copper setting up from 471.7 m. The first discovery was described by around 50 diamond drillholes.
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The company’s confined drilling to date on the Western Foreland exploration challenge has been targeted at the Makoko and Kiala discoveries, in which permanent street accessibility has been set up.
In addition to early 2020 drilling at the Kiala Discovery and drilling in the second 50 % of 2020 at the Makoko Sud Discovery, Ivanhoe’s exploration perform in 2020 provided stream-sediment sampling, soil geochemical sampling, as effectively as outcrop and stream mapping on the new tenements acquired in 2019. In complete, 411 stream-sediment samples and 958 soil samples have been gathered and processed for examination.
According to Gilchrist, Ivanhoe’s geologists initially determined the prospectivity of the Kamoa-Kakula region in the mid-2000s employing the exact same resources and techniques.
In Q4, 2020, a complete of eight new diamond drill holes ended up also completed alongside strike of Makoko to the west. The drilling aimed to verify the continuation of future reduced Nguba stratigraphy westwards toward the new exploration permits. “Makoko West is really considerable for the exploration possible of the new exploration permits as it demonstrates that the two the goal stratigraphy extends westward and that the copper mineralising system on the western edge of the basin is laterally in depth,” clarifies Gilchrist.
A large-resolution electromagnetic and radiometric study also commenced in Q4, 2020 and is ongoing. As soon as total, the study will assistance to far better recognize the stratigraphic and structural architecture of the new exploration spots, some thing that is critical to building early stage targets for floor surveys.
Enlargement and acceleration of the Western Foreland exploration programme
A lot of this year’s exploration will focus on a lot more than 1 700 km2 of new, 100%-owned permits that were being acquired in 2019 and received environmental certification in 2020.
“The target of the 2020 discipline time and the original phase of the 2021 exploration programme is very substantially about accumulating information and performing with our present designs to pinpoint the best targets for future exploration and drilling,” Gilchrist points out, noting that the early phase exploration and details collection is remaining utilised to deepen the company’s comprehension of the geology of the new licences for goal generation.
This first exploration programme, budgeted at US$16 million (with optionality to maximize the spending budget must effects warrant) will include roughly 40 000 m of put together aircore and diamond drilling, airborne and floor-primarily based geophysics, and soil sampling and will establish on perform accomplished in 2020.
Ivanhoe’s exploration crew now is performing on a detailed, fast-tracked exploration programme for the coming a long time.
“With the exact same crew that found the planet-scale assets at Kamoa-Kakula firmly driving exploration at Western Foreland, leveraging the same systematic approaches and information-abundant procedures, we consider we are in the midst of the up coming era of excellent copper discoveries in the DRC,” says Gilchrist.
“Given the robust resource base at this time founded at Kamoa-Kakula, and the good get the job done remaining performed by our advancement group, we can most likely grow the Kamoa-Kakula mining operation up to 19 Mtpa,” he concludes.
DID YOU KNOW?
Western Foreland is incredibly strategic given that the wide bulk of it is thoroughly-owned by Ivanhoe – therefore supplying additional discovery torque outdoors the latest joint venture at Kamoa-Kakula
Ivanhoe Mines now holds 175 km of strike in the really-possible Western Foreland district
The Western Foreland exploration task is much more than 6 moments larger sized in space than the Kamoa-Kakula mining licence