Lumwana Mine Copper output raised
Equinox Minerals Limited is increasing full year production guidance to 140,000 tonnes of copper in concentrate.
In a press release to UKZAMBIANS, Lumwana produced 38,445 tonnes of copper in concentrate during Q3-2010.
Equinox announced in Toronto,Ontario, on Tuesday its preliminary production results for the quarter ended September 30, 2010 (“Q3-2010″) from its100% owned Lumwana Copper Mine in Zambia.
Production for the 9 months to the end of September 2010 totaled 112,751 tonnes of copper in concentrate.
According to President and Chief Executive Officer, Craig R. Williams, The mine continued to increase the total material movement averaging more than 10 million tonnes per month, while the plant operated at design capacity with 4.94 Mt of ore treated in the quarter.
Williams further explained that Material movement of 30.4 Mt is the best quarterly result to date and is as a result of continued operational improvements with longer working, faces, larger blasts and higher benches, leading to better equipment productivity and utilization.
The five new Hitachi EH-4500 trucks have now been commissioned and were operating during the quarter.
Mining operations moved into new production stages during Q3-2010, resulting in additional stripping and slightly lower ore production for the quarter at 4.18 Mt, necessitating the draw down of stockpiles.
“With Lumwana operating at design capacity, the solid performance inQ3-2010 has enabled us to increase production guidance for the 2010 year to 140,000 tonnes of copper in concentrate. The Equinox team is now focusing on continued productivity improvements and our expansion
objectives to optimize the potential of Lumwana.” Commented Williams.
The plant produced at its design rate of 20 Mtpa over the quarter with 4.94 Mt of ore milled. Despite the higher throughput rates, copper production was down relative to the June quarter. This was due to lower head grades (0.87% Cu) as mining moved out of the higher grade Starter Pit and slightly lower copper recovery (89%) with some transitional oxide-sulphide material from the new stages being treated. The lower head grade and recoveries achieved in Q3-2010 are expected to continue into the December quarter.
In addition to the copper ore mined during the quarter, mining of the uranium zones at Valeria South and Valeria North within the Malundwe pit continued during the quarter with 1.15 Mt of uranium-copper material mined.
The uranium stockpile on the ROM pad has increased to 4.5 Mt of 900 ppm uranium and 0.8% copper, and is being classified and expensed as “waste” to the copper project. This uranium-copper stockpile may be treated at a later date, if and when the Company builds a uranium plant.
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