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Robert Friedland, Executive Chairman of Ivanhoe Mines (TSX: IVN), and Lars-Eric Johansson, Chief Executive Officer, today announced assay results from an additional eight holes of the ongoing 2016 drilling campaign at the Kakula Discovery on the company’s Tier One Kamoa Copper Project, near the mining centre of Kolwezi in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

 

“Earlier discoveries already have established Kamoa as the world’s largest, undeveloped, high-grade copper discovery,” said Mr. Friedland.

 

“Now, our latest drilling results indicate that Kakula, in the southern portion of the Kamoa Project, could prove to be Africa’s most significant copper discovery.”

 

The Kamoa Project became a joint venture between Ivanhoe Mines and Zijin Mining in December 2015.

“In 2003, Ivanhoe’s geologists started our initial exploration program at Kamoa, which at the time was nothing more than an unknown grass-roots prospect generated by our geological team and covered with a thin layer of Kalahari sand, sitting in a previously unrecognized district within the Central African Copperbelt,” said Mr. Friedland.

 

“We made our initial significant discovery at Kamoa in 2008. The quest, which by 2013 showed that Kamoa is the world’s largest, undeveloped, high-grade copper discovery, took more than 12 years of dogged exploration, dedicated geological and geotechnical expertise and a total investment of several hundred million dollars.”

 

Mr. Friedland added: “Our perseverance and eventual success in unlocking Kamoa’s world-scale potential was recognized by the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada in March 2015 with the presentation of the prestigious Thayer Lindsley International Discovery Award to key members of the Ivanhoe Mines exploration team.

 

“However, given the remarkable exploration success we have had to date at the Kakula Discovery, as it has been progressively revealed during the past year, we believe that this new copper discovery is substantially richer, thicker and more consistent than other mineralization that we have found elsewhere on the Kamoa Project. The results speak volumes: The Kakula Discovery is a complete game changer in our planning for the development of the Kamoa Project.”

 

The DRC government holds a 5%, non-dilutable interest in the Kamoa Project, which was transferred to the government in 2012 in accordance with the DRC Mining Code. Ivanhoe also has offered to transfer an additional 15% interest to the DRC government on terms to be negotiated.

 

Mr. Johansson said constructive and cordial negotiations between Ivanhoe Mines, Zijin Mining and senior DRC government officials are continuing on this matter and Ivanhoe expects a mutually beneficial agreement to be achieved in the near future that will provide long-lasting, positive benefits to the DRC government and the Congolese people.

 

Development of initial mine at Kamoa progressing ahead of plan

 

Mr. Johansson also noted that underground mine development at Kamoa’s planned initial mining area at Kansoko Sud is progressing ahead of plan and within budgeted costs. The twin declines, incorporating both a service and a conveyor tunnel, each have advanced more than 130 metres since the first excavation blast occurred in May of this year. Development of the underground mine is designed to reach the high-grade copper mineralization at the Kansoko Sud deposit during the first quarter of 2017.

 

The planned Kansoko Sud initial mining footprint contains high-grade intercepts of up to 7.04% copper and a potential mining thickness of more than 15 metres. The mineralized horizon is expected to be intersected by the declines at approximately 150 metres vertically below surface, where initial mining operations will commence. Byrnecut Underground Congo SARL is the contractor for the development of the declines.

 

Independent Mineral Resource estimate for the Kakula Discovery expected around the end of Q3 2016

 

The primary objective of the current drilling program at Kakula is to confirm and expand a thick, flat-lying, bottom-loaded zone of very high-grade, stratabound copper mineralization at the southern part of the Kakula Discovery area (see Figure 1) that has the potential to be amenable to bulk, mechanized mining and have a significant, positive impact on the Kamoa Project’s future development plans. Ivanhoe expects to have an initial, independent Mineral Resource estimate prepared for the Kakula Discovery around the end of Q3 2016.

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