Kipushi’s Big Zinc Deposit has an estimated 10.2 million tonnes
of Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources grading 34.9% zinc
Successful return to steady-state production will make Kipushi
the world’s highest-grade major zinc mine
Pre-feasibility study scheduled for release later this year;
excellent progress being made on mine rehabilitation work
Drilling program underway to expand and upgrade Kipushi’s Inferred Resources
KIPUSHI, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO — Robert Friedland, Executive Chairman of Ivanhoe
Mines (TSX: IVN; OTCQX: IVPAF), and Lars-Eric Johansson, Chief Executive Officer, announced today
that negotiations are underway with government agencies – Gécamines, the state-owned miner and
Ivanhoe’s partner at Kipushi, and Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer du Congo (SNCC), the DRC’s
national railway company – and potential project financiers to advance agreements to launch a new era
of commercial production at the upgraded Kipushi zinc-copper-silver-germanium mine in the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The Kipushi Mine is owned by Kipushi Corporation (KICO), a joint venture between Ivanhoe Mines
(68%) and Gécamines (32%). Kipushi is on the Central African Copperbelt in the province of Haut-
Katanga, approximately 30 kilometres southwest of the provincial capital of Lubumbashi and less than
one kilometre from the international border with Zambia.
Kipushi’s rich future drawing on a history of distinction – and the waiting Big Zinc Deposit
Built and then operated by Union Minière for 42 years, Kipushi began mining a reported 18% copper
from a surface open pit in 1924. It was the world’s richest copper mine at the time. Then it transitioned
to become Africa’s richest underground copper, zinc and germanium mine. State-owned Gécamines
gained control of Kipushi in 1967 and operated the mine until 1993.
Over a span of 69 years, Kipushi produced a total of 6.6 million tonnes of zinc and 4.0 million tonnes of
copper from 60 million tonnes of ore grading 11% zinc and approximately 7% copper. It also produced
278 tonnes of germanium and 12,673 tonnes of lead between 1956 and 1978. There is no formal record
of the production of precious metals as the concentrate was shipped to Belgium and the recovery of
precious metals remained undisclosed during the colonial era; however, drilling by Ivanhoe Mines has
encountered significant silver values within Kipushi’s current zinc- and copper-rich deposits.
Most of Kipushi’s historical production was from the Fault Zone, a steeply-dipping ore body rich in
copper and zinc that initially was mined as an open pit. The Fault Zone extends to a depth of at least
1,800 metres below surface, along the intersection of a fault in carbonaceous dolomites (see Figure 2).
The founding era of mining at Kipushi ended in 1993, when it was placed on care and maintenance due
to a combination of economic and political factors.
Before Kipushi was idled, Gécamines discovered the Big Zinc Deposit at a depth of approximately
1,250 metres below surface and adjacent to the producing Fault Zone (see Figure 2). The Big Zinc’s
mineral resources have never been mined. Ivanhoe’s drilling has upgraded and expanded the Big Zinc
Deposit’s Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources to an estimated 10.2 million tonnes grading
34.9% zinc, 0.65% copper, 19 grams/tonne (g/t) silver and 51 g/t germanium, at a 7% zinc cut-off,
containing an estimated 7.8 billion pounds of zinc.
Now, the planned restoration of production at Kipushi is based on initial mining that will be focused on
the Big Zinc Deposit.
Key steps toward the start of a new era of mining at Kipushi
Excellent progress has been made by KICO in modernizing the Kipushi Mine’s underground
infrastructure as part of preparations for the mine to resume commercial production. With the
underground upgrading program nearing completion, KICO’s focus now will shift to modernizing and
upgrading Kipushi’s surface infrastructure to handle and process Kipushi’s high-grade zinc and
The current mine redevelopment plan, as outlined in the May 2016 independent, preliminary economic
assessment (PEA), has a two-year construction period with quick ramp-up to a projected, steady-state,
annual production of 530,000 tonnes of zinc concentrate.
A pre-feasibility study (PFS) is underway to refine the findings of the PEA, and to optimize the mine’s
redevelopment schedule, life-of-mine operating costs and initial capital costs required to return the
mine to production, taking into consideration the significant capital already invested to date on critical
rehabilitation work. Ivanhoe expects to complete the PFS before the end of this year.
“The KICO team, which includes more than 390 Congolese nationals, has done a fantastic job in safely
upgrading the mine’s underground infrastructure in anticipation of restarting production,” said Mr.
“Given the extremely high zinc grades at Kipushi, the mine has the potential to become one of the
world’s largest and lowest-cost zinc producers, while also producing significant quantities of copper,
silver and germanium. With the current, long-term, bullish market sentiment for zinc, we look forward
to working with our partner, Gécamines, prospective project financiers and our team at Kipushi to fasttrack
completion of the remaining development at the mine.
“Since the PEA was issued in May 2016, we have made major strides towards completing the
underground infrastructure upgrading program and we are much closer to achieving our vision of
building a world-class zinc operation at Kipushi,” Mr. Friedland added.
Restoration of production will make Kipushi the world’s highest-grade major zinc mine
The PFS will focus on the mining of Kipushi’s Big Zinc Deposit, which has an estimated 10.2 million
tonnes of Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources grading 34.9% zinc. This exceptional grade is
more than twice as high as the Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources of the world’s next-highestgrade,
major zinc project, according to Wood Mackenzie, a leading, international industry research and consulting group.
In addition to the Big Zinc Deposit, Kipushi has several copper-rich zones that also contain silver,
germanium and zinc. Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources contained in the copper-rich Série
Récurrente Zone, Fault Zone, and Fault Zone Splay total 1.63 million tonnes at grades of 4.01% copper,
2.87% zinc and 22 g/t silver, at a 1.5% copper cut-off, containing 144 million pounds of copper. Inferred
Mineral Resources in these zones total an additional 1.64 million tonnes at grades of 3.30% copper, 6.97% zinc and 19 g/t silver.
Figure 1. World’s 10 largest zinc mines, ranked by forecasted production by 2019.
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