The Dikulushi mine is located in south-east DRC, in Haut Katanga District, Katanga Province, approximately 25 km from the western shore of Lake Mweru and approximately 450 km north of Lubumbashi. The mine can be accessed by air from Lubumbashi, or by road from Zambia and thereafter across Lake Mweru by boat. Dikulushi is situated 124 km south west of Mawson West's mine construction project at Kapulo. The Company's projects are governed by the Dikulushi Mining Convention.
Following positive feasibility study results on the cutback expansion of the Dikulushi Mine, the Company committed to the development of the Dikulushi open pit in August 2011. Proved and Probable Mineral Reserves at Dikulushi as at September 2011 were 539,000 tonnes at 6.1% copper and 182 grams per tonne silver. The Company completed mining the Dikulushi open pit in July 2013 and approximately 85% of the Mineral Reserve was mined through open pit mining methods.
Following a decision in November 2013 to commence underground mining at the Dikulushi mine, mobilisation of equipment and personnel commenced ahead of mining operations. Underground mining is anticipated to ramp up production at the Dikulushi Mine to between 6,000-7,000 tonnes of copper in concentrate during 2014. Underground exploration drilling is underway to support Mineral Reserve growth beyond 2014.
In November 2013, an exploitation permit was granted to the Company in relation to the Kazumbula deposit. The exploitation permit also covers the Kabusanje area. Kazumbula and Kabusanje are potential satellite deposits, located approximately 15 kilometres from the Dikulushi Mine processing plant. Any material from these deposits is intended to be processed through the Dikulushi plant.
The orebody is primarily confined to a complex ENE-trending fault zone that breaches an upright, open fold geometry in the host rocks. Prior to mining, the mineralised rocks cropped out and/or yielded strong soil copper anonalism over a strike length of ~400 m.
The ore comprises massive to semimassive and fracture-disseminated copper sulfide minerals that filled open spaces and cemented breccias along the fault zone. Early mineralization was polymetallic and contained Cu-Fe-Pb-Zn and Ag as chalcopyrite, bornite, galena and sphalerite. Subsequent remobilization dissolved most of the Fe, Pb and Zn, and caused upgrading of the copper-silver content of the ore. The central parts of the orebody commonly contain >10% Cu and >200 gpt Ag. As a result of this process, the orebody is now composed largely of the copper-sulfide mineral chalcocite. Silver occurs as atomic-level substitutions and very fine grained inclusions in chalcocite.
Numerous other copper deposits are known in the Dikulushi area. These occur in a variety of structural and stratigraphic settings, but typically share the mineralogical characteristics of Dikulushi. A series of these occurrences within 15 km of Dikulushi are currently being drill-tested by Mawson West.