PERTH (miningweekly.com) - Copper miner Oz Minerals on Wednesday said that it was on track to reach its production target of between 100 000 t and 110 000 t for the 2011 calendar year.
Oz Minerals produced some 27 217 t of copper during the quarter ended September, which was 6% lower than the 29 017 t produced in the June quarter.
The miner said that its operational focus remained on the production of copper, and as such, gold ore in the feed blend was reduced at times to accommodate copper ore, and to achieve the copper targets.
Gold production for the quarter reached 36 064 oz, and 122 193 oz in the year to date. Oz Minerals said that its gold production target of between 150 000 oz and 160 000 oz remained intact for the 2011 full year.
Total mining volumes for the quarter under review were lower than the previous quarter as a consequence of lower waste movement at the Prominent Hill operation, in South Australia. Dewatering requirements, major planned maintenance on some machinery and excavation for the permanent underground portal also impacted the overall mining rate.
As scheduled in the mine plan, mining of waste, including material required for the north wall cut back, would increase in the fourth quarter of this year, with mining rates peaking in 2012 and 2013, before gradually decreasing until the cut back is complete in 2016.
The miner said in a statement that the Ankata underground development remained on schedule to provide first ore for processing from underground in the first quarter of 2012. The underground operation will ramp up over 2012 and is anticipated to reach its full 1.2-million-tons-a-year mining rate in the third quarter of 2012.
During the quarter under review, the decline reached the Ankata orebody and development of the first level commenced. A total of 2 457 m of development has been achieved to date.
Pre-production capital for the project was now expected to be around A$148-million, compared with the original budget of A$135-million, the main increases including additional allowances for development, scope change to pastefill plant, pit cutback for the portal and a tramp metal removing system. Sustaining capital was expected to be around A$6-million a year for the life of the underground mine, with a higher proportion of this expenditure in the early years.