Ivanhoe Mines, a TSX-listed company, is currently negotiating agreements to bring the historic Kipushi mine into a new era of production. According to the statements of its leaders, the parties involved in the discussions are Gécamines, Ivanhoe’s partner on the project, SNCC, the national railway company, as well as potential donors.
Kipushi, a mine that has existed since 1924
Currently managed by Kipushi Corporation (KICO), a joint venture between Ivanhoe Mines (68%) and Gécamines (32%), the Kipushi mine has been in operation since 1924. Built by the Union Minière who operated it for 42 years before Gécamines took control of it in 1967. From 1924 to 1993, the mine produced a total of 6.6 million tonnes of zinc, 4 million tonnes of copper, 278 tonnes of germanium and 12,673 tonnes of lead. Due to economic and political factors, Gécamines had to place it under maintenance and upkeep in 1993.
KICO’s great strides in boosting production
Ivanhoe Mines stated in a news release published on its website that it had made “excellent progress” since implementing its production reclamation program, including updating the indicated and measured mineral resources of the Big Zinc deposit discovered by Gécamines just before the mine became inactive. The deposit, located at a depth of 1,250 m, now hosts 10.2 million tonnes grading 34.9% zinc, 0.65% copper, 19 g/t silver and 51 g/t germanium. The first phase of the program will focus on the Big Zinc deposit. Ivanhoe Mines is in the process of upgrading Kipushi’s underground infrastructure and plans to focus on modernising and improving surface infrastructure. A pre-feasibility study (PFS) is underway to refine the results of the preliminary economic assessment carried out last May, which projects an annual production of 530,000 tonnes of zinc concentrate over a 10-year lifespan. The PFS will be completed before the end of the year. Also, KICO is conducting a 41 hole drilling program of 6,500 meters in depth to expand and update inferred resources from the Kipushi project. In addition to the Kipushi project, Ivanhoe Mines also operates on the massive Kamoa-Kakula project, which is recognised as home to one of the world’s largest copper resources.
Source: Agence Ecofin/Louis-Nino Kansoun