PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Nickel miner Western Areas has reported its highest quarterly output since the December 2013 quarter, as its Spotted Quoll mine, in Western Australia, achieved record production in the quarter ended September 30.
For the three months under review, Western Areas produced 148 102 t of ore, grading an average 4.8% nickel for 7 062 t of contained ore. This was up from the 6 565 t of nickel produced in the three months to June.
The Spotted Quoll underground mine produced a record 3 905 t of nickel, while the Flying Fox mine delivered 3 155 t of nickel in the quarter under review.
The Cosmic Boy concentrator processed 153 540 t of ore, at an average grade of 4.6% nickel during the quarter, to deliver 41 221 t of concentrate, grading 15.2% nickel. Consequently 6 252 t of nickel was produced with a metallurgical recovery of 89.2%.
The concentrate was delivered to BHP Billiton’s smelters at Kambalda and the Jinchuan smelter in China, without disruption, with a total of 41 588 t of concentrate delivered, containing 6 233 t of nickel.
Mine production for the full year was expected to remain unchanged at between 25 000 t and 27 000 t and nickel-in-concentrate production at 24 000 t to 25 000 t.
Western Areas earlier this month announced the deferral of some A$32.6-million in capital expenditure from the 2016 financial year to 2017, in an effort to battle declining nickel prices.