Western Areas’ unit costs fall to lowest level in 3 years

Western Areas’ unit costs fall to lowest level in 3 years

Photo by Bloomberg

21st January 2015

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia


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PERTH ( – Cost management has resulted in nickel miner Western Areas reporting its lowest quarterly unit costs of production since December 2011.

The Western Australia-focused miner on Wednesday reported that unit costs for the quarter reached A$2.23/lb, resulting in a 20% decrease in the half-year unit cash cost, compared with its guidance.

The quarterly unit cash cost was compared with the A$2.50/lb reported in the September quarter.

Western Areas noted that the quarterly unit cash cost was achieved on the back of the higher-than-expected mine grades from the Flying Fox and Spotted Quoll mines, an increase in Spotted Quoll material in the mill blend, continued optimisation and productivity improvement programmes, and continued focus on cost management across all activities.

Meanwhile, nickel production during the December quarter reached 6 597 t, which was on par with the 6 660 t of nickel produced in the previous quarter, and bringing half-year production to 12 945 t of nickel.

The Flying Fox mine delivered 64 122 t of ore during the quarter, containing 3 114 t of nickel, while the Spotted Quoll mine produced 68 324 t of ore, containing 3 483 t of nickel.

The Cosmic Boy concentrator processed 152 407 t of ore, at an average grade of 4.7% nickel, producing 44 159 t of concentrate containing 6 434 t of nickel.

At the end of the quarter, 98 602 t of ore, at an average grade of 4.2% nickel, containing over 4 166 t of nickel, was stockpiled, representing two months of mill feed. Western Areas said that the stockpile enabled the company to select an optimal mill feed blend.

Some 6 246 t of nickel was sold to mining giant BHP Billiton during the quarter ended December.

Edited by Mariaan Webb
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



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