TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – TSX- and NYSE-listed Nevsun Resources on Monday announced that it had reached commercial production for the copper expansion at its Bisha mine, in Eritrea, after it had successfully commissioned its flotation plant.
The Vancouver-based firm said that since commissioning started early in the third quarter, the operation had produced about 60 000 t of copper concentrate and was on track to meet its guidance of 30-million to 50-million pounds of copper in 2013.
“We are very pleased to advance this tremendous deposit to the next stage of production and we are looking forward to significant 2014 cash flow to add to our already strong balance sheet. The State has understood from the beginning that responsible development of the mining industry has the potential to be a significant economic catalyst to the country over the next several years,” Nevsun president Cliff Davis said.
He added that during the past month, the plant had been achieving over 80% of its targeted metrics of feed grade, recovery rates, and copper produced in concentrate. The transportation logistics from site to Massawa port were also working well and Bisha had made three shipments totalling about $60-million in value, with another ship loading this week in Massawa.
Pre-commercial production sales proceeds and production costs to date, including mining, processing and general and administrative costs directly attributable to the project, will be capitalised against the build cost.
The build cost of the copper plant and infrastructure came in at about $110-million, compared with the budget of $125-million.
The Bisha mine began construction in September 2008 and declared commercial production in February 2011, at a rate of two-million tonnes a year. The mine produced low-cost gold/silver doré until mid-2013 when, through a $110-million copper expansion, throughput expanded to 2.4-million tonnes a year and the product switched to copper in concentrate.
Later in the mine life, flotation capacity would be expanded again to also produce zinc concentrates.