PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Preliminary metal production estimates from miner Independence Group have found that the Nova nickel mine, in Western Australia, has failed to meet its full year production target.
ASX-listed Independence on Monday told shareholders that nickel production for the three months to June was up 23% quarter on quarter, to 7 344 t, while full-year production reached only 22 258 t, some 3% below the low-end of the 23 000 t to 27 000 t guidance.
A semiautogenous grinding (SAG) mill liner issue impacted processing plant availability and productivity in the second half of June, which resulted in about 800 t shortfall in nickel production, relative to the guidance.
The company noted that the SAG mill liners were now being replaced, and were not expected to be a continuing problem.
“We achieved a big step up in metal production at Nova during the June quarter, driven by better-than-nameplate mining and processing rates, and higher overall grade, which absorbed downtime and lower productivity in the second half of June due to the SAG mill liner issues,” said Independence MD and CEO Peter Bradford.
“Nova is a world-class asset producing nickel, copper and cobalt, all of which are aligned to the energy storage thematic, and Nova is now fully ramped up in every respect.”
Meanwhile, preliminary estimates have shown that the Tropicana gold joint venture, also in Western Australia, produced 114 252 oz during the June quarter, and 477 139 oz in the full year, which was well within the guidance of between 440 000 oz and 490 000 oz.
The Long nickel mine produced 1 533 t of contained metal in the fourth quarter, and 5 855 t in the full-year, which was also within the guidance of between 5 400 t and 6 000 t.
“Both Nova and Tropicana are poised for a strong 2019 financial year, with continuing business excellence projects at both operations poised to deliver improved productivity and value,” Bradford said.
“In parallel, we continue to make good progress with the prefeasibility studies for the downstream processing of Nova concentrates to produce nickel and cobalt sulphates and the Boston Shaker underground at Tropicana, with both studies due for completion by the 2018 calendar year end.”