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Nambian operation delivers improved copper cathode production

Aim-listed mining company Weatherly International’s Tschudi mine, in Namibia, has achieved a production of copper cathode of 4% above the mine’s nameplate production rate of 17 000 t/y.

The mine produced 4 442 t of copper cathode in the quarter ended March 31, the company reported in a statement earlier this month. The openpit copper mine achieved nameplate production of 17 000 t/y in December and identified an opportunity to increase processing capacity to 20 000 t/y. For the quarter ended December 31, the mine’s first quarter of commercial production, it delivered 4 076 t of copper cathode.

“We are very pleased with the consistent production performance from Tschudi dur- ing the quarter . . . continuing our record of meeting or beating guidance at Tschudi,” Weatherly CEO Craig Thomas said. He added that the Namibian dollar/US dollar exchange rate movements assisted the company in keeping its US dollar production costs well below forecast.

However, Thomas believes a focus on productivity and cost discipline by the team on site also contributed to the “satisfying results” for the quarter. Cash costs for Tschudi for the quarter were $3 429/t, remaining “well below” guidance of $4 250/t to $4 350/t for the current financial year. In December, the company announced an amended agreement with Orion Mine Finance for the Tschudi debt facilities, including cer- tain hedging arrangements to be agreed between Orion and Weatherly during the third quarter of the 2016 financial year. The result of these arrangements to date is the average price received during the March quarter was $4 742/t.

Planned pro- duction of about 4 250 t for the June quarter has been presold to Orion at $4 912/t. Tschudi has mineral resources of 50.1-million tonnes at 0.86% copper and a reserve of 22.7-million tonnes at 0.95% cop- per, with an expected mine life of 11 years.

In addition to Tschudi, Weatherly’s prin- cipal assets include two underground cop- per projects, Otjihase and Matchless, in Namibia, which the company believes will enable it to achieve its medium term goal of establishing a mining business capable of sustaining about 25 000 t/y of copper production. The company also has a 25% stake in Aim-listed China Africa Resources, which is developing the Berg Aukas lead/zinc mine, also in Namibia.

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