By Business Reporter
COPPER cathode production at AIM-listed Weatherly International’s Tschudi mine improved by 21 percent quarter-on-quarter to 4 105 tons in the quarter ended 30 September 2017.
Tschudi C1 costs were reduced by 15 percent to US$5 402 per ton.
“The company continues to experience lower-than-anticipated leach rates and continues to compensate for this by exposing ore faster in the pit and stacking higher volumes of copper metal in ore, which together result in a higher C1 cost in the short to medium-term,” the company said in a statement.
Weatherly continues to extend the heap leach pad area to provide additional time for the leaching of copper, and has now completed the construction of four new leach pads.
Bulk earthworks and clay liners for the final remaining three pads are also complete.
The company noted that open pit groundwater inflows continue to increase, as pit mining proceeds to deeper elevations. However, the flow rates are being managed adequately, to ensure a reliable supply of ore for stacking.
Weatherly has also warned that it, and its subsidiaries, are unlikely to generate sufficient surplus cash to meet all loan repayments when due, particularly in the near-term.
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 ground-breaking was held in November the same year. 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 000t 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 southwest and has a strike length of approximately 2 500m.
Oxide mineralisation at Tschudi occurs up to a depth of 70m below 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 000t of the metal.
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