LONDON Ivanplats Ltd.
chief executive officer Robert Friedland is touting the
companys Kamoa project in the Democratic Republic of
Congo (DRC) as potentially the largest copper mine in the
"This is going to be a
transformative copper mine for the DRC. By building a smelter
and treating metal on site, we will produce sulfuric acid as a
by-product, which is in desperate demand" in the country,
Friedland told delegates at this weeks Mines and Money
London 2012 conference. "It will be bigger than (the) Tenke
Fungurume (copper-cobalt mine) in measured, indicated and
inferred resources. Theres nothing to compare to
The project is still in the
development stages, but it has indicated mineral resources
representing up to 21.7 million tonnes of contained copper.
Columbia-based Ivanplats shares debuted on the Toronto
Stock Exchange at $4.85 each, following an initial public
offering that raised $307 million.
The company owns Kamoa as well
as the Kipushi zinc-copper project, also in the DRC, and
Platreef, a platinum-gold-copper project in South Africa. It
had a market capitalization of $2.5 billion at the time of the
"It was the largest IPO in
Canada since 2010. Weve never seen a more anaerobic
period, and it was very hard to stimulate investors
hand-to-wallet reflex," Friedland said.
"Weve invested more than
$230 million of private capital over an 18-year period," he
At Kipushi, formerly the King
Leopold Mine, Ivanplats has one of the richest zinc mines in
the world. "It has up to 40 percent zinc and copper and a very
large volume of previously mined zinc in ore," Friedland
The mine flooded two years ago,
however, and will not be completely dewatered until the first
part of 2013, he added.
At Platreef, meanwhile,
Ivanplats has a major platinum-gold-copper project, but it must
contend with a difficult political situation in South Africa in
the wake of bloody miners strikes there.
Friedland appeared unfazed by
these issues, however, saying the operations will be completely
mechanized and will be developed as a series of mechanized
"This is my favorite discovery
in all my years of mining. Its completely
transformative," he said. "We have a deposit that will not
involve muscle. It will be completely safe so that we can have
non-blood platinum. Its a very good thing for the South
The company has also received
support from the Japanese government, as it is one of the
largest consumers of platinum group metals. "They are concerned
about having a long-term, stable and ethical supply of these
metals," Friedland said.
A version of this article was first
published by AMM sister publication Metal