The high-grade ore at Friedland's Kakula is reached
Ivanhoe Mines said Monday that the underground development at its $1.1-billion Kakula Copper Mine now has reached the high-grade ore within the deposit.
The company said that grades of approximately 4% copper have been returned from sampling, and grades are expected to "significantly increase" as crews advance drifts toward the deposit's central mining zones that are in excess of 8% copper.
Ivanhoe estimated that the mine has surpassed 16 million hours of work to date. Copper concentrate production is still estimated for Q3 2021.
"Underground development is being performed by mining crews operating large-capacity, semi-autonomous mining equipment, such as jumbo drilling rigs, load haul dumpers and 50-tonne trucks," said the company.
"Engineering design, procurement and construction for the processing plant is fully underway. Orders for all of the long-lead items have been placed, including the ball mills, crushers, high-pressure grinding rolls, flotation cells, re-grind mills, thickeners and concentrate filter.
"Surface earthworks and terracing for the concentrator and surface infrastructure is well advanced, and the civil contract for the processing plant now has been signed. The tender for the structural, mechanical, piping and plate-work erection contract has been issued."
The company said a new highway connecting the mine and airport is 50% complete. A 220-kilovolt overhead hydropower lines to the substation are expected by the end of 2020.Underground image of worker courtesy of Ivanhoe Mines