Sandfire continues race towards copper glory

27th April 2023

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia


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PERTH ( – Copper production for miner Sandfire Resources has continued to decline during the three months to March, as its DeGrussa mine, in Western Australia, transitioned from mining operations to the processing of stockpiles.

The miner on Thursday reported that copper production for the March quarter had reached 18 509 t, down from the 20 031 t produced in the December quarter, while zinc production increased slightly from 19 755 t to 21 294 t in the same period, and lead production increased from 1 921 t to 2 269 t.

Sandfire also produced 5 111 oz of gold during the quarter under review, up from the 4 562 oz produced in the December quarter.

The Matsa operation, in Spain, contributed 14 113 t of contained copper during the quarter, as well as all of the zinc and lead production. Copper equivalent production at Matsa increased by 10% from the December quarter, due to higher production of zinc, lead and silver.

Sandfire CEO and MD Brendan Harris said that the company had a number of programmes in place at Matsa that were design to improve the net smelter return from the various ore types as the company looked to reduce dilution and increase recovery, before pushing throughput rates consistently towards the 4.7-million tonne a year mark.

“While we know from direct experience that our processing facility can achieve those higher rates of performance, we remain firmly focused on maximising the value of our resources.

“Similarly, our investment in geotechnical knowledge and underground development is expected to provide a greater level of predictability in our underground mines in the future. To this end, we expect Matsa’s copper equivalent production for the current financial year to be within 1% of prior guidance at approximately 98 000 t, despite copper production being closer to 56 000 t rather than 60 000 t, as we continue to benefit from strong zinc, lead and silver production.”

Harris noted that in Botswana, construction of the initial 3.2-million tonne a year Motheo mine was largely complete, with first concentrate production expected in the coming days, and an inaugural shipment scheduled for the middle of this year.

“This will present a major milestone for Sandfire as we establish an operating platform within the heart of the company’s large land package that spans a significant portion of the highly prospective Kalahari Copper Belt.

“Our attention now turns to the initial ramp-up of the operation and the delivery of the rapid, low-cost expansion in capacity from 3.2-million tonnes a year to 5.2-million tonnes a year by early 2024. This expansion is expected to see Sandfire’s copper equivalent production increase by 25% from the 2022 levels, to approximately 160 000 t in 2025.”

Looking at the full 2023 production, Sandfire is expecting copper production to reach some 87 000 t, with zinc production targeted at 86 000 t, lead at 9 000 t and gold production at some 20 000 oz.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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