Ivanhoe Mines Reports Higher Recoveries, Low Arsenic for Kamoa Project, DRC

copper ivanhoe mines congo drcIvanhoe Mines (TSX:IVN) is often best known for its Platreef platinum and palladium project in South Africa, but it's worth remembering that the company holds a 95 percent interest in one of the world's largest copper discoveries as well.

On Monday, Ivanhoe announced results from recent metallurgical testwork at its Kamoa project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) which showed increased copper recoveries and potential for reduced up-front capital and operational costs.

The Kamoa project, ranked as the largest, high-grade copper discovery in Africa, and the largest undeveloped high-grade copper discovery in the world, had 43.5 billion pounds of contained copper in indicated resources and 9.8 billion pounds of contained copper in inferred resources as of January 2013. Ivanhoe also owns a majority interest in the historic zinc-copper-silver Kipushi mine in the DRC.

Improved recoveries, simpler process

Bench-scale metallurgical flotation test work was carried out on a composite sample from the Kansoko Sud and Kansoko Centrale areas of the Kamoa resource, and returned recoveries of 88.3 percent copper at a concentrate grade of 39 percent. That represents an improvement on the 85.9 percent life-of-mine average copper recovery that was previously published in a November 2013 preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for Kamoa.

Those results were especially important since they represent the first metallurgical testing conducted on the Kansoko Sud area of the resource. Ivanhoe plans to develop Kamoa using a two phased approach that would see a smaller-scale start-up operation pave the way for a larger mine and smelter, and Kansoko Sud was picked for the first phase of development at the project in the company's latest PEA.

Ivanhoe Mines executive chairman Robert Friedland, was positive on the area's potential, stating, "[t]his testwork further confirms the attractiveness of the high-grade Kansoko Sud area for initial mine development at Kamoa."