Ivanhoe Australia has announced a 60% increase in the mineral resource estimate at Kulthor underground mine in northwest Queensland. The deposit is part of the company’s Osborne copper-gold operation on the Cloncurry tenements. It is now estimated at hosting 7.4 million indicated tonnes @ 1.6% copper and 1 gram/tonne gold with an additional inferred 5.4 million tonnes @ 1.3% copper and 0.9 grams/tonne gold.

The June 2011 resource estimate totalled 4.7 million tonnes @ 1.5% copper and 1 gram/tonne gold.

The increase in the measured and indicated portion of the mineral resource has resulted from a program of resource extension drilling that has been under way since 2011. This program has successfully converted a substantial amount of the inferred resource to the measured and indicated category.

Ivanhoe’s chief executive officer Ines Scotland says, “The identification of additional resources at Kulthor is consistent with our strategy of increasing the mine life of the Osborne operation at low capital cost. We will be continuing work at Kulthor and other brownfield exploration areas close to the Osborne process plant to identify further feed for the Osborne mill.”

The upgraded resource will now be included in further studies aimed at increasing the volume of mill feed and thus mine life to the Osborne operation.

The Osborne project is about 50km from Mount Dore and includes mining and processing facilities from a recently operating copper and gold mine. It is currently under care and maintenance. During 2011 Ivanhoe implemented a $30 million capital development program for the Osborne and Kulthor underground resources.

Ivanhoe is targeting a mine life of up to 20 years with ore supply for the initial four year mine plan to be sourced from the Osborne, Starra 276 and Kulthor underground mines. The company also plans to start processing molybdenum/rhenium ore from its Merlin deposit at the Osborne processing facility.

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