Nevsun Achieves Top End of 2013 Production Guidance

Copper Concentrate Export Operation in Massawa Port. Rotainer loading device in the foreground and grey Bisha concentrate containers in background.
Copper Concentrate Export Operation in Massawa Port. Rotainer loading device in the foreground and grey Bisha concentrate containers in background.

By Nevsun,

Nevsun Resources Ltd. (TSX:NSU) (NYSE MKT:NSU) (Nevsun or the Company) is pleased to announce strong production results of 48 million pounds of copper in the second half of 2013 with 36 million pounds produced in the fourth quarter ended December 31.

Total gold production for 2013 was 92,000 ounces in dore and 20,000 equivalent ounces in precious metals concentrate. The copper plant continues to ramp up with December annualised production of 190 million pounds of copper, recovery of 84% and copper concentrate grade of 32%.

2013 HIGHLIGHTS

– Exceeded 15 million hours without a lost time injury
– Completed the copper expansion project on-time and under budget
– Achieved commercial production of copper plant on schedule
– Produced 48 million pounds of copper in concentrate against guidance of 30 to 50 million pounds
– Produced 92,000 ounces of gold in dore plus 20,000 equivalent ounces in precious metals concentrate

Q4 2013 HIGHLIGHTS

– Processed 401,000 tonnes of ore at a grade of 5.1% copper
– Produced 36 million pounds of copper in copper concentrate
– Shipped 32 million pounds of copper in copper concentrate
– Achieved 80% metallurgical recovery of contained copper, with 84% in December
– Annualised December production of 190 million pounds of copper at 32% copper in concentrate

A summary of the Company’s quarterly and full year operating results follow:

Q4 2013 Q3 2013 Q2 2013 Q1 2013 2013 Year
Mining
Ore mined, tonnes 1 533,000 559,000 425,000 475,000 1,992,000
Waste mined, tonnes 2,664,000 2,802,000 1,647,000 1,925,000 9,038,000
Strip ratio (calculated in BCM’s) 10.2 8.5 4.5 5.1 6.7
Milling
Ore milled, tonnes 2 401,000 366,000 455,000 432,000 1,654,000
Copper feed grade, % 3 5.1 2.5 3.9
Gold feed grade, g/t 4 2.75 4.14 3.43
Processing
Recovery % of copper 3 79.7 59.5 73.5
Copper in concentrate, mlbs 36.0 12.0 48.0
Recovery % of gold 4 79.8 79.0 79.4
Gold poured in doré, ounces 5 1,500 13,300 34,900 42,300 92,000

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[1] Q4 mining tonnage, all from Bisha Main pit, includes oxide ore (15,000 tonnes), pyrite sand ore (63,000 tonnes), and supergene ore (455,000 tonnes)
[2] Q4 milling tonnage was all supergene ore unlike Q3 which included mix of pyrite sand mixed and oxide ore followed by supergene ore
[3] Q4 copper feed grade and recovery for supergene ore only unlike Q3 which included pyrite sands from mid-June to mid-July
[4] Gold feed grade and recovery for oxide ore only
[5] Q4 gold poured during final decommissioning of the CIL plant

Cliff Davis, Nevsun CEO commented,

“December demonstrated the capability of the newly commissioned copper plant to meet production expectations in 2014. We look forward to realising significant cash flow in 2014 as we continue to process ultra-high grade supergene ore and look to monetize the various stockpiled precious metal materials.”

The mine performed well in the fourth quarter with 3,197,000 tonnes of material moved, close to Q3 rates and significantly higher than Q1 and Q2 where the mine fell behind on waste stripping. Improvements in primary excavator and haul truck availabilities and new equipment, have allowed the operation to begin to catch up on waste stripping.

Copper ore feed grades exceeding 6 percent and copper metallurgical recoveries exceeding 80 percent towards the end of the quarter helped underline the continual improvements in the new copper flotation plant. Commercial production has been achieved and mill ramp up and improvements continue.

Nearly 100,000 tonnes of copper concentrate have been produced with over 65,000 tonnes shipped in the fourth quarter. The main focus remains on ensuring land transport keeps up with the copper concentrate production.

Nevsun plans to announce its full year 2013 financial results on March 13, 2014, with a conference call to follow.
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