THE measured and indicated mineral resource at Kansanshi mine has been upgraded to 744 million tonnes at 0.86 per cent total copper while the lifespan has been extended to 16 years.
The two factors fully justify the proposed doubling of Kansanshi processing to 50 million tonnes per annum.
According to the First Quantum Minerals (FQM) update on Kansanshi and enterprise mineral resource and reserve estimates released on Tuesday, the upgrade translates into 121 per cent increase in the combined measured and indicated mineral resource tonnes, and 74 per cent increase in contained copper.
The highlights include the proven and probable mineral reserves which have been upgraded to 725.6 million tonnes at 0.82 per cent total copper, a 178-per cent increase in proved and probable reserve tonnes, 106 per cent increase in contained copper, but excluding stockpiles.
The mine life has been extended to 16 years at the increased 50-million tonnes per year throughput rate as compared to 2011 figures published in the March 2012 Annual Information Form (AIF).
"Initial comparative estimates show that the Mineral Resource tonnage has increased by some 121 per cent, and total contained copper metal by 74 per cent."
The figure for inferred mineral resources has increased by greater amounts and these largely adjacent regions will now be the focus of the targeted in-fill drilling programme for 2013.
The majority of the mineral resource increase is associated with sulphide mineralisation which is significant when determining the optimal development strategies for Kansanshi.
It is now feasible for the expanded life of the mine to be determined, which adds great confidence to the proposed processing expansion projects.
The uplift in the total Kansanshi mineral reserve is substantial when compared with previously published mineral reserve statements and the expanded reserves could now form a solid foundation on which the expansion of treatment facilities at Kansanshi could be finalised.
Gold production at Kansanshi has consistently been greater than the values identified in the mineral resource.
Under the Enterprise Nickel Prospect, an intensive resource definition drill programme has been completed.
The Enterprise is part of the Trident project which includes the Sentinel copper deposit currently under development.
The updated mineral resource estimate for Kansanshi was compiled by independent consultant M Titley of CSA Global while the mineral resource estimate for enterprise has been compiled by independent consultant G. White of CSA Global UK.
Mineral reserves were compiled by another independent consultant, A. Cameron of Cameron Mining Consulting.