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Ivanhoe, Gécamines to reopen historic Kipushi mine

Ivanhoe Mines (TSX: IVN) and DRC state miner Gécamines will jointly work on bringing back to life the historic Kipushi zinc-copper-germanium-silver mine, in the country’s south, by mid-year.

The deal involves Gécamines increasing its stake in Kiphusi Corporation, which is currently a 100%-owned subsidiary of Ivanhoe, to 38% and further to 43% in 2027.

The Canadian miner has been working on getting Kipushi back online and it estimates that a new concentrator, currently under construction, as well as underground development will be ready in the second quarter of the year. 

This means that mining at Kipushi could restart in the second quarter of 2024, with the operation producing more than 250,000 tonnes of zinc annually over first five years.

“The signing of the new joint venture agreement heralds the beginning of a new era of production for the Kipushi mine, which will resume operations one hundred years after first opening in 1924 as the world’s richest copper mine,” Ivanhoe said.

The past-producing asset, considered the world’s highest-grade zinc mine, was shut down in 1993 due to political instability and low metal prices.

Gécamines chairperson Guy-Robert Nkunzi says the relaunch of the Kipushi mine is a source of pride for all its former employees, the local communities of Kiphusi town, the Haut-Katanga province and the country as a whole.

Map of the current and planned commercial DRC-Zambia road border infrastructure used by the DRC Copperbelt for exporting mineral products. (Image courtesy of Ivanhoe Mines.)

Once a minimum of the current proven and probable reserves and up to 12-million tonnes have been mined and processed, an additional 37% of the share capital and voting rights in the JV shall be transferred to Gécamines, after which the state-owned miner will have a 80% stake in the mine.

Ivanhoe also said it had held talks with the provincial government of Haut-Katanga about a new commercial DRC-Zambia road border crossing at the town of Kipushi. 

A contractor has already been selected to set up a a 13-km sealed, bypass road around the town of Kipushi, which will connect the existing main road to the mine site.

Source: MINING.COM – Read More