Nevsun Resources Ltd. (TSX: NSU / NYSE MKT: NSU) today announces its 2014 outlook for planned copper production from the Bisha Mine in Eritrea.
The Bisha Mine, operated by Nevsun’s sixty percent owned subsidiary Bisha Mining Share Company (BMSC) is one of the highest grade open pit base metal deposits in the world and has a mine life in excess of 11 years.
Cliff Davis, Nevsun’s CEO commented,
“Following our successful transition to copper production in 2013, Nevsun looks forward to strong free cash flow and earnings from Bisha in 2014. For growth, we will continue to expand Bisha resources through generative exploration programs in 2014 and to actively evaluate potential acquisition opportunities.”
* Maintain industry leading safety performance at Bisha operations
* Execute on social and environmental commitments
* Produce 180 – 200 million pounds of copper
* Achieve C1 cash costs in industry lowest quartile
* Publish increased resource and reaffirm reserve estimate
* Execute regional exploration program
* Push forward with zinc expansion
* Continue paying peer leading dividends, now quarterly
Corporate Social Responsibility
Nevsun expects that BMSC will maintain top quartile safety performance at its Bisha operations and work towards maintaining lost time injury rates that are less than North American mining industry average. Nevsun expects that BMSC will continue to enhance corporate social responsibility program initiatives to reflect evolving international standards.
Copper Production Guidance
BMSC plans to produce between 180 and 200 million pounds of copper in concentrate in 2014 through processing of approximately 2,100,000 tonnes of ore from Bisha Main pit averaging about 4.6 percent copper feed grade. With such high grade ore, the C1 cash cost of producing a tonne of concentrate will be in the lowest quartile worldwide. Based on the mine plan, the copper will be contained in approximately 280,000 tonnes of concentrate, at approximately 30 percent copper grade. Continued plant optimisation and increased transport logistical efficiency will remain top priorities.
In addition to the above copper production, the Company has considerable additional value held in stockpiles to be monetized. This includes 6,500 tonnes of precious metals concentrate containing about 7,000 ounces of gold with high silver content that it intends to blend with its regular copper concentrate so as to heighten the value of the combined product. The Company has also mined and stockpiled over 100,000 tonnes of oxide ore at over 6 g/t Au containing over 20,000 ounces of gold, and 200,000 tonnes of pyrite sand ore that contains approximately 55,000 ounces of gold with significant silver content. The Company is exploring alternative methods and timing to best monetize these stockpiles.
Resource and Reserve Update
As a result of its successful exploration program in the past year, in mid February the Company plans to announce revised estimates for mineral resources and reserves. Reserves and resources will be on the Bisha and Harena mining licenses and resources will also include the Northwest and the Hambok deposits. The estimates will include results from the extensive 2013 drilling campaign, as announced during the past number of months.
Nevsun intends to expand its exploration effort over the coming year with active drilling occurring in and around the Bisha Mine, on the Harena Mine License and on the Mogoraib River Exploration License. Numerous untested geophysical targets remain on these properties and both the Bisha and Harena deposits have not been fully defined by historical drilling. Several new targets will be evaluated on the Mogoraib License and in addition to efforts to expand the existing historical resource at Hambok, high potential targets along the Hambok trend and other new areas will be also be tested.
Zinc Expansion Project
BMSC will advance its zinc expansion project through 2014, with a target start-up in Q4 2015. As of the date of this news release, the EPCM contractor has been appointed, initial commitments for long-lead item civil works have been made and detailed design has commenced. Capital cost for the zinc project will be more closely estimated during H1 2014.
Effective March 31, 2014, the Company will increase the frequency of dividends so as to pay quarterly instead of semi-annually. The current $0.14 annualized dividend is expected to be paid at $0.035 per share each quarter, for holders of record on the last trading day of each quarter, payable on or about the 15th day of the following month.
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