Aeris Resources recorded copper production of 6,380t for the September quarter, as the Company’s Tritton underground mine transitioned to multi-lift stopes. The Company also closed the North East mine during the quarter, with last ore extracted in September, while the new Murrawombie underground mine continued to ramp-up production as planned. Ore processing performance was higher than the previous quarter at 408,828 dry metric tonnes milled, with copper recovery at 94.32%.
- September quarter copper production of 6,380 tonnes
- Tritton Deeps development approved by Aeris Board
- Ventilation Shaft at Tritton underground mine commenced
- Ramp-up of Greenfields exploration activities on Tritton tenement package with $7.5M targeted over next two years
- Cash and receivables of $7.8M at the end of the quarter
- Access to Tranche 2 (US$10M) of Working Capital Facility triggered by approval of Tritton Deeps
Q1 FY2017 Quarterly Activities Report
Safety, Environment and Community
There were no lost time injuries during the quarter.
The total recordable injury frequency rate (TRIFR) is 19.97 as at 30 September 2016. Aeris continues to prioritise the safety of its work force and aims to sustain this rate of improvement through a focus on improving safe behaviours.
There were no reportable environmental incidents during the quarter.
Tritton Copper Mine (NSW)
Copper production for the September quarter was 6,380 tonnes. During the quarter, the Tritton underground mine (Tritton) transitioned to multi-lift stopes. Mining production and grade at Tritton were negatively impacted by oversize rocks in stopes, which slowed down extraction of broken ore and impacted on dilution. The North East mine closed during the quarter as the last ore was extracted in September. The Murrawombie underground mine development continued in the quarter with production expected to ramp-up during FY2017.
Ore processing performance was higher than previous quarter at 408,828 dmt milled with copper recovery at 94.32%.
The processing plant was shut down for three days in July for crusher maintenance, and for two days in September, as a result of SAG mill maintenance brought forward. The processing plant was also impacted by power outages at the start of the quarter.
During the previous quarter, Aeris commenced construction of a new ventilation shaft at the Tritton mine to support operations as they progress deeper, following the orebody. When completed, the shaft will extend from surface to the existing RL4385m exploration drive, a total of 880 metres, representing a total capital investment of more than $11 million. The vent shaft is targeted to be operational at the end of the March quarter in 2017. This significant investment will enable the recently announced Tritton Deeps project to be developed below the RL4385m exploration drive and prolong the Tritton mine life.
The project is progressing well although with some technical issues. Electrical power outages have disrupted progress and a backup diesel power pack was mobilised to site. The pilot hole encountered an open fault at 800m depth that stopped drilling progress due to loss of water returns. Pressure grouting of the fault from the mine was nearly completed by end of the quarter and breakthrough of pilot hole to the mine is expected in October.
On 21 March 2016, the Company announced that the Aeris Board had approved the development of the Murrawombie Underground mine.
Mine development was well advanced by the end of the quarter. Electrical power, main ventilation and pumping infrastructure were all installed and operating during the quarter. Stope mining of the minor lodes in the upper part of the mine had commenced to provide ore production while the decline is advanced down to the main ore body, (102 lode mineralisation).
Production from the minor lodes in the upper part of the mine is expected to be variable due to the partially oxidized rock mass near surface. Hence priority is given to advance of the capital access decline to allow future bottom up mining of these lodes, with stabilizing backfill.
Equipment fleet replacement
Improving reliability of the mine equipment fleet, through strategic equipment replacement and improved maintenance practices, has continued to be a high focus. In FY16, seven new 63 tonne underground trucks, a CAT Loader and a drill rig were added to the fleet. The final truck was delivered and another loader was also added to the fleet during the September quarter.
C1 unit cash costs for the quarter were A$2.48/lb, an increase over the previous quarter as a result of increased mining unit costs mainly due to lower copper production and increased processing costs due a shutdown being brought forward into September quarter. TC/RC’s decreased as a result of timing of shipments.
Total production unit costs declined compared to the previous quarter mainly due to the positive concentrate inventory movement, due to timing of a shipment at the end of the quarter.
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