MMG LXML Sepon’s copper plant is now operating at its new capacity, following a significant expansion of the facility and a phased increase in production over several months.
The gold and copper mine’s production report for the three months ending 30 September 2011 shows that copper production was around 25% higher than during the same period last year.
Sepon mine has beaten its own monthly copper production record three times this year, peaking at 7,077 tonnes in July. The increase in production is a direct result of the expanded processing facilities, which came into use in early 2011. MMG invested US$60.4 million to complete the expansion project.
Despite the record output, the report shows that the mine is still slightly behind its annual production target for copper of about 78,000 tonnes. During the first half of the year, damaged process equipment restricted output. The equipment has now been replaced and strong efforts are being made to reach the target.
Gold production was 12.7% lower than the previous quarter, due to declining availability of oxide gold ore at Sepon.
“Earlier this year we advised that Sepon had sufficient gold oxide resources to maintain gold production until at least mid-2012. We continue to discover additional oxide gold, and our expectation is that the oxide gold operations will continue for at least the next 12 months. Exploration is likely to extend this further - however, the life of the oxide gold resource is unlikely to exceed 12 months at any point in time going forward,” said Saman Aneka, Director of MMG LXML Sepon.
Gold production for 2011 is forecast at 70,000 – 75,000 ounces.