Ivanhoe Mines, listed on the TSX, has announced an important new discovery of high-grade copper on its 100 %-owned Western Foreland licences, west of the Kamoa-Kakula mining licence in the DRC.

Ivanhoe holds an extensive land package, totalling approximately 700 km2 in the Western Foreland area. The company began exploration drilling on the licences in the third quarter of 2017. To date, the company has drilled more than 50 holes, the great majority of which have been in the Makoko Discovery area.

Core from drillhole DD046 at Makoko from a downhole depth of 525 m to 536 m 

Makoko is the first of multiple high-potential target areas identified by Ivanhoe’s exploration team to be tested by drilling. An initial, independent resource estimate for the Makoko Discovery is expected in the current financial quarter. In addition, Ivanhoe recently began exploration drilling on other targets identified in the Western Foreland area to test for high-grade copper.

The Makoko discovery hole intersected 3,94 m (true width) of 5,46 % copper, at a 2,0 % copper cut-off, and 3,94 m (true width) of 5,46 % copper at a 1,0 % copper cut-off, from a downhole depth of 306 m.

“This latest discovery at Makoko validates our exploration model for the geologic features controlling the high-grade copper mineralisation in the region,” said Robert Friedland, Co-Chairman of Ivanhoe. “This model reflects the accumulation of in-depth, proprietary geological insights gained by Ivanhoe's exploration team during nearly two decades of exploring in the region.

“Given the early drilling success at Makoko, we are highly confident that we have the secret blueprint for additional exploration successes in the Western Foreland area in 2019 and beyond.

“We are in the privileged position of owning 100 % of a massive exploration land package with outstanding geological potential next door to our Kamoa and Kakula discoveries. Kamoa-Kakula already has been independently established as the world’s fourth-largest copper project and still is growing. It has copper grades that are the highest, by a wide margin, of the world’s top 10 copper deposits,” Friedland added.

“While some investors are focused on short-term issues such as the DRC Mining Code revisions and the upcoming presidential election, Ivanhoe’s philosophy is to think big and think long term. Our geological team has done an outstanding job of executing our strategy to continue to add shareholder and stakeholder value by keeping the drill bits turning and delivering spectacular exploration results.

“The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has encouraged investors to continue their exploration efforts in the DRC. Ivanhoe’s team is the determined and absolute global leader in exploration technology and success. Our talented and dedicated employees will continue to help the Congolese people unlock the full potential of their country’s mineral endowment.

“Our continued exploration successes in the DRC will continue to catch the fullest attention of the mining world,” Friedland said.

Exploration on Ivanhoe’s Western Foreland licences began in July 2017, with the construction of all-season access roads, bridge construction and the development of new camp facilities. In parallel, Ivanhoe undertook airborne and ground-based geophysical surveys and revisited previously acquired geophysical and geochemical data sets. The interpretative work led to the definition of a number of promising exploration targets, of which Makoko was the first to be tested with drilling.

The initial discovery hole at Makoko, DD004, was drilled in September 2017. Follow-up and infill drilling has been ongoing since then.

Photo courtesy of Ivanhoe.