African Copper, the developers of the Mowana Copper Mine in Botswana, said it is making progress towards reaching commercial production levels at Mowana mine.
The AIM and Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) quoted outfit added that the production levels are
improving and are also in the process of modifying the facilities at its flagship project.
“Production levels are improving and our absolute focus remains on achieving the sustained commercial production levels that our high quality deposits justify,” Jordan Soko, acting Chief Executive of the company, said.┬á
“The redesigned Mowana Mine facilities will allow us to do just that and we are making good progress towards this goal,” he added. ┬á
The mining company is also expecting to beat production milestones as the 2011 full year levels are expected to be double of what was achieved last year.┬á
The combined production levels for the company’s financial year fourth quarter to 31 March 2011 ore processed in (Mt) was 57,540 by April 2011, and for the period between January and March 2011 it was 131,604.┬á
African Copper added that this was in contrast to 92,047 mt in the same period of between January and March 2010.┬á
Ore processed for the full year was 290,259 and 2011 is expected to be 632,981 mt.┬á
The company added that the constraint on production levels at Mowana remains ore delivery to the mill as a result of poor secondary and tertiary crusher availability.
It said, however, these constraints have been somewhat offset by improving mill feed copper grades during the past three months.┬á
At the moment, the company is focused on opening up the pit at Mowana by increasing the stripping ratios in the short term to increase the available ore extraction footprint. ┬á
“This has resulted in demand for increased drilling, blasting and load and haul capacity.”┬á
The company added that at Thakadu, the other mine it is developing, it is continuing with overburden stripping and ore mining to provide both mining and processing flexibility.
┬áIt added that negotiations are at an advanced stage with the Botswana Government on the remaining part of the copper deposit under the Archaeological Site. ┬á
“There are some positive indications of ore quality improvement with significant pockets of sulphide ore having been extracted,” the company told its shareholders.┬á
African Copper added that the Amec Minproc Study on the secondary and tertiary crusher modifications has been completed, and the company is reviewing the report to determine a cost-effective implementation plan to complete modifications as soon as possible. ┬á
Initiatives to improve efficiency of the operations are also underway and these include the installation of a 200 tonne per day press filter for efficiency improvements in copper concentrate filtration, the installation of column flotation cells to upgrade the copper concentrate by reducing the silica content in the concentrate.┬á
The completion of long term contracts for services in areas such as blast hole drilling, load and haul of ore and waste; ore transportation from Thakadu mine to Mowana mine; blasting & explosives supply and fuel supply & management are also underway.