MMG Limited (MMG) (HKEx: 1208) today announced an update on the Century mine and Dugald River project in north-west Queensland, Australia, after a meeting of the MMG Board.
Following today’s release of the annual Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves, as at 30 June 2013, Century had approximately 1.8 million tonnes of contained zinc metal in the Mineral Resources (inclusive of the Ore Reserve) and 1.4 million tonnes contained zinc metal in the Ore Reserves.
While MMG will continue to investigate opportunities to convert the remaining Mineral Resource to Ore Reserves, the record mining rates achieved in 2013 and the current mine plan imply last production from Century’s open pit is expected to occur in mid-2015.
Following exhaustion of the Century Ore Reserve, MMG will cease open pit mining and continue rehabilitation and other closure work on areas disturbed by mining operations.
MMG Chief Executive Officer, Mr Andrew Michelmore, said “the Century ore body, one of the most exciting base metal discoveries in Australia, has produced over 6 million tonnes of zinc in concentrate to date.”
MMG will continue to investigate a number of future options for the Century processing facility and associated infrastructure, including the evaluation of nearby vein-style zinc-lead-silver targets and the potential for tailings retreatment.
“With open pit operations concluding, MMG will continue to work in close cooperation with the Queensland Government, local communities, Native Title holders and employees to ensure effective planning for 2015 and beyond,” said Mr Michelmore.
The Board has also approved the commitment of an additional A$57 million to progress trial stoping and diamond drilling throughout 2014 at the Dugald River project, near Cloncurry in north-west Queensland.
Dugald River project activity to date has identified complexities in the ore body prompting a review of the planned mining method, optimum mine production volumes and ore processing facilities.
Trialling of mine development methods will provide practical mining experience and will enable optimisation of the underground mine design. Further drilling will also enhance understanding of the characteristics of the ore body ahead of any further mine development.
“The geotechnical aspects of the Dugald River ore body continue to appear more challenging than prior assumptions, with poor ground conditions making the initial mine plan difficult to achieve,” said Mr Michelmore.
“The 2014 work program is critical for us to identify the preferred mining method and any decision on further development will be deferred while this work is underway.”
MMG will not achieve the previously announced schedule of a first concentrate shipment in late 2015. MMG will continue to provide updates as the Dugald River project progresses and will announce a revised schedule following completion of the project review.
Located in north-west Queensland, Century is Australia’s largest open-cut zinc mine.
Base metals were first discovered in the Lawn Hill region in 1869, and the first mining lease in the area was pegged in 1887. Exploration titles were granted to CRA Limited in 1987, precisely 100 years after the initial discovery in the areas: hence the name Century.
Century produces zinc and lead concentrates using conventional open-pit mining, grinding and flotation methods at its Lawn Hill site. Processed concentrates are transferred via a 304-kilometre underground slurry pipeline to Century’s port and dewatering facility at Karumba, on the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Century open pit operations occur under a unique agreement with Native Title holders, the Traditional Owner groups of Waanyi, Mingginda, Gkuthaarn and Kukatj, and the Queensland Government.
About Dugald River
Dugald River is an undeveloped zinc-lead-silver deposit located in north-west Queensland, some 235 kilometres south-east of MMG’s Century zinc-lead-silver mine.
MMG has progressed underground development over 12,000 metres as at 30 November 2013. A total of 95,000 tonnes of Dugald River ore was trial processed at MMG’s Century operation in 2013, producing 6,050 tonnes of zinc concentrate.
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The information pertaining to Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves that is referred to in this announcement is extracted from the report entitled MMG Limited Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves Statement as at 30 June 2013 which was announced on 19 December 2013, with the Technical Appendix being available to view on www.mmg.com.
The Company confirms that it is not aware of any new information or data that materially affects the information included in the Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves Statement and, in the case of estimates of Mineral Resources or Ore Reserves, that all material assumptions and technical parameters underpinning the estimates in the Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves Statement continue to apply and have not materially changed. The Company confirms that the form and context in which the Competent Person’s findings are presented have not been materially modified from the Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves Statement.
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