JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Namibia-focused Weatherly International increased its copper concentrate production by 14.2% to 5 714 t and lifted its contained copper output by 10.9% to 1 421 t in the second quarter of the 2011/12 financial year.
Weatherly’s Matchless mine, which maintained target ore output in the three months to the end of December, continued to produce improved orebody width, strike length and grade with depth.
However, its Otjihase mine experienced some mobile equipment downtime, hampering production in October and part of November.
Further, while the December mining rates were on target, conveyor breakdowns during the Christmas and New Year period resulted in much of the mined ore failing to reach the concentrator before year-end.
“In the absence of these conveyor breakdowns, production rates for concentrate and metal would have met annualised production targets in December,” the company said.
"I am pleased with the continued progress we are making at our central operations. We are generating good cash flow, which will be used to further pay down our debt and to investigate the significant growth opportunities that exist within the company,” CEO Rod Webster said.
The company was also taking strong management action to deal with performance issues at Otjihase, he added. The operating contract of the mine has been restructured and two new contractors have been engaged to manage the processing and the conveying and underground infrastructure contracts.
Further, the mining contract has been modified from a 'cost-plus' to a hard 'cost per ton' contract in order to sharpen the focus of the mining contractor on safe and reliable delivery of ore.