By Business Reporter
AIM-listed copper mining company, Weatherly International, has accelerated mining and stacking rates at its Tschudi mine, to compensate for the 24 percent fall in production rates in April, owing to slower leach rates.
Production rates have
already improved in May and June, with the company now reporting that its full-year copper production guidance would remain unchanged at 14 500 to 15 000 tons.
“Investigations continue into whether or not leach rates can be accelerated, to match those predicted in the 2012 bankable feasibility study, by varying site operating parameters,” Weatherly Chief Executive Officer, Craig Thomas, said.
Capital construction of the stage two leach pads was also underway and permanent loss of recoverable copper metal, by sealing and overstacking of partially leached ore, is expected to be reduced as a result.
However, the miner warned that it was still unable to generate sufficient surplus cash at current copper prices, to fund the leach pad construction capital, as well as the additional working capital required for accelerated mining and stacking of slower-leaching ore and all loan repayments to Orion, when due.
It, therefore, believes it will need US$10 million for working capital.
As such, Orion has agreed to further amendments to the terms of its funding arrangements, and has also agreed to enter into a new uncommitted US$10 million facility to cover the additional funding requirement.
Tschudi is a low-cost open-pit mine extracting oxidised copper ore, to be treated through heap-leach, solvent extraction and electro-winning.
Environmental approval for the Tschudi mine was granted in April 2013 and the groundbreaking was held in November 2013. Civil construction works at the mine site began in April 2014 and the first copper was produced in October 2015.
Tschudi is expected to produce an average of 17 000 tons of copper per annum, during its 11-year life period. The deposit is expected to create more than 500 jobs.
The ore body of the Tschudi mine is located in the basal sandstones and minor conglomerates of the Malden Group. The deposit is open-ended at the south-west and has a strike length of approximately 2 500m.
Oxide mineralisation at Tschudi occurs up to a depth of 70m below the surface. Beyond the 70m level, a transitional zone of mixed sulphide-oxide mineralisation then extends to a depth of approximately 110m, followed by a sulphide zone.
Copper mineralisation in the oxide zone is mainly composed of malachite and minor chalcocite. The mineralisation is disseminated through a sandstone and conglomerate unit, lying above a dolomite unit. The sulphide zone contains chalcocite and bornite, while the transitional zone contains a combination of chalcocite and bornite.
As of December 2015, the mine was estimated to contain reserves of 24.4 million tons of ore grading at 0.85 percent copper, containing 207 000 tons of copper.
-Additional reporting by miningweekly
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