Nevsun Resources Ltd. (TSX: NSU / NYSE MKT: NSU) is pleased to announce its first copper production of 12 million pounds in concentrate from the Bisha Mine during the third quarter. Production guidance remains at 30 to 50 million pounds of copper in concentrate for 2013. The Company also produced 13,300 ounces of gold during the quarter, mainly from the decommissioning process of the gold CIL circuit.
Q3 2013 Operating Highlights
-- Bisha achieves first copper production of 12 million pounds -- Gold production of 13,300 ounces from CIL decommissioning -- First ocean shipments of concentrate in October -- Commercial production remains on track for late 2013 or early Q1 2014
Commissioning and ramp up of the copper expansion continues, with commercial production expected in late 2013 or early Q1 2014. Pre-commercial production copper concentrate is moving to the port of Massawa and the first bulk shipments of concentrate are expected in October.
Cliff Davis, Nevsun’s CEO commented,
“After successfully starting the high grade Bisha Mine and producing approximately 800,000 ounces of gold since 2011 at a cash cost of less than $350 per ounce, we are pleased to begin the next phase of the Bisha Mine as a significant copper producer. The capital program to implement the copper circuit has been completed on time and on budget and we have been able to bring initial product to the market.
Nevsun and the team at Bisha are carefully managing the commissioning process and we look forward to strong cash-flows in 2014 and continuing to develop Nevsun Resources.”
Total tonnes mined were up 60% quarter-over-quarter with ore mined up 30% to 559,000 tonnes. The ore mined included 232,000 tonnes of remnant oxide and pyrite sand being mined to stockpile for future processing.
Waste mined increased 70% quarter-over-quarter to 2,802,000 tonnes, for a strip ratio of 8.5 to 1 by volume. The stronger performance reflects putting new equipment to use and improvements in maintenance. Overall, waste stripping remains behind plan for 2013, however, this is expected to have minimal impact on copper ore production through 2014. Actions remain in place to resolve the remaining issues and deliver the required stripping going forward.
The 366,000 tonnes milled was inclusive of pyrite sand processed through mid-July 2013. Overall in Q2 and Q3, 94,000 tonnes pyrite sand ore was processed, generating an estimated 7,000 tonnes of precious metal concentrate containing 8,000 ounces of gold and 789,000 ounces of silver. Options are being explored to best realize value from the precious metal concentrate and unprocessed pyrite sand stockpiles.
Since the start of copper commissioning in mid-July, the strategy has been to make use of lower grade and sub-grade copper feeds, thereby preserving reserve grade material and resulting in a copper recovery of 60%, much lower than the greater than 80% expected when the plant is in commercial production. Commissioning and ramp up of the copper expansion continues, with commercial production on track for late 2013 or Q1 2014.
Gold production will continue from decommissioning of the CIL gold circuit, with Q4 being the final quarter of doré shipping.
____________________________________________________________________ | | | Q2 2013| Q1 2013| Year-to-Date| | | Q3 2013| 3 months| 3 months| 2013| | |3 months ending| ending| ending|9 months ending| | | September 30| June 30| March 31| September 30| |________________|_______________|_________|_________|_______________| |Mining | | | | | |________________|_______________|_________|_________|_______________| |Ore mined, | | | | | |tonnes 1 | 559,000| 425,000| 475,000| 1,459,000| |________________|_______________|_________|_________|_______________| |Waste mined, | | | | | |tonnes | 2,802,000|1,647,000|1,925,000| 6,374,000| |________________|_______________|_________|_________|_______________| |Strip ratio | | | | | |(calculated in | | | | | |BCM's) | 8.5| 4.5| 5.1| 5.9| |________________|_______________|_________|_________|_______________| |Milling | | | | | |________________|_______________|_________|_________|_______________| |Ore milled, | | | | | |tonnes 2 | 366,000| 455,000| 432,000| 1,253,000| |________________|_______________|_________|_________|_______________| |Gold feed grade,| | | | | |g/t 3 | -| 2.75| 4.14| 3.43| |________________|_______________|_________|_________|_______________| |Copper feed | | | | | |grade, % 4 | 2.5| -| -| 2.5| |________________|_______________|_________|_________|_______________| |Processing | | | | | |________________|_______________|_________|_________|_______________| |Recovery % of | | | | | |gold 3 | | 80%| 79%| 79%| |________________|_______________|_________|_________|_______________| |Gold poured in | | | | | |doré, ounces 5 | 13,300| 34,900| 42,300| 90,500| |________________|_______________|_________|_________|_______________| |Recovery % of | | | | | |copper 4 | 59.5| -| -| 59.5| |________________|_______________|_________|_________|_______________| |Copper in | | | | | |concentrate, | | | | | |million pounds | 12.0| | | 12.0| |________________|_______________|_________|_________|_______________|
(1) Q3 mining tonnage, all from Bisha Main pit, includes remnant transitional acid oxide ore (91,000 tonnes), pyrite sand ore (141,000 tonnes), and supergene ore (327,000 tonnes)
(2) Q3 milling tonnage was pyrite sand mixed with oxide ore followed by supergene ore starting in mid-July
(3) Gold feed grade and recovery relates to oxide ore only
(4) Copper feed grade and recovery relates to the pyrite sand and supergene ores
(5) Q3 gold poured is predominantly associated with the decommissioning of the CIL plant
Full Q3 2013 results will be released on November 7, 2013.
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