Nevsun Resources Ltd. (TSX:NSU / NYSE MKT:NSU) (Nevsun or the Company) is pleased to announce the completion of the new zinc flotation plant at its Bisha Mine in Eritrea. The new zinc flotation plant adds to the existing copper flotation and Bisha will continue to produce both copper and zinc for the remaining current nine-year primary reserve life.
The Company initiated ore commissioning of the combined plant on June 6, 2016. The plant was completed on time and well under budget, coincident with the exhaustion of the supergene ore.
Nevsun CEO Cliff Davis commented, “We are again very pleased with how the zinc plant expansion has progressed, on time and under budget. We look forward to reaching commercial production before the end of Q3. In the meantime, we will continue to accelerate the monetization of the DSO high grade gold equivalent stock piles so as to augment cashflow during 2016.”
This Bisha zinc expansion project will average over 100,000 tonnes (225 million pounds) of zinc and 20,000 tonnes (45 million pounds) of copper per year for the next 9 years from mid-2016 and has excess capacity to absorb additional feed that might come from additional deposits without yet defined mineral reserves from Bisha deeps, Harena or Asheli.
Construction of the zinc expansion project is complete. The project included replacement of the copper regrind mills with a new, more efficient IsaMillTM, identical to the regrind mill in the zinc plant. Wet (i.e., cold) commissioning tests, utilizing air, water and slurry are now finished. Bisha has started hot commissioning using lower quality boundary material ore to start plant optimization and ramp-up, and to generate combinations of various copper, zinc and bulk concentrates until transition to commercial production later, utilizing primary ore.
The commissioning process is anticipated to take no more than three months to complete and will allow the Company to optimize the efficiency of the plant and maximize recoveries of copper and zinc in their respective concentrates.
Some relatively minor fixes may need to be completed over the next few months as the plant is trialed, and final project costs will be reported in due course. The Company currently estimates the cost to be less than $80 million against a budget of $100 million.
As the total tonnage of copper and zinc concentrate produced going forward is expected to be similar to total copper concentrate quantities in 2015, there is no need for additional transport or shipping infrastructure upgrades.
The existing Rotainer trucking and loading system used to load, transport and unload concentrate materials for shipping continues to operate safely, efficiently and in an environmentally sound manner.
- No lost time injuries occurred over the full duration of the zinc flotation plant construction
- Zinc flotation plant completed on time and under budget
- Commenced “hot” (ore) plant commissioning June 6, 2016
- Commercial production expected within three months with first concentrate sales anticipated August 2016
- Zinc concentrate marketing continues to attract significant interest
About Nevsun Resources Ltd.
Nevsun Resources Ltd. is the 60% owner of the high grade Bisha Mine in Eritrea. Bisha has over nine years of reserve life, generating revenue from both copper and zinc concentrates containing gold and silver by-products. Nevsun has a strong balance sheet with approximately US$300 million in cash, no debt and pays a peer leading quarterly dividend. Nevsun is well positioned to grow shareholder value through exploration at Bisha and acquisition of additional mining assets.