MMG Century mine produced 104,852 tonnes of zinc concentrate during the first quarter of 2015 as it continued to progress through the final stage of its mine plan.
Zinc production was 7% lower than during the same period in 2014, and 28% lower than the previous quarter due to lower feed grades as Century open pit mining approaches completion. Feed grades from Stage 10, the final stage of the mine, averaged 7.9% compared to 10.0% during the fourth quarter 2014.
Quarterly lead production was also lower due to the deferral of trucking during the wet season. Reclamation of lead concentrates from lead concentrate storage dams will recommence during the second quarter of 2015.
MMG confirmed today that it expects to complete mining from the Century open pit during the second quarter. Final associated concentrate production from the Century open-pit is expected to occur during the third quarter 2015.
General Manager Queensland Operations Mark Adams said the completion of Century open pit production would mark the end of an era for the mine, MMG and the region.
"Century has been a big part of the Gulf region and the Australian mining community for almost two decades. I know the completion of mining at Australia’s largest zinc mine will mark the end of an era for many."
Mr Adams also said that a batch of ore stockpiled during the 2014 trial stoping program at MMG’s Dugald River development project near Cloncurry would be processed at Century following the completion of Century open-pit production.
"Approximately 450,000 tonnes of ore with an average grade of 13.3% zinc was produced during our trial stoping program at Dugald River last year.
"While we do not intend to truck ore between the two sites over the long-term, processing this single batch of ore at Century provides us with a further opportunity to understand how Dugald River ore performs during processing.
"We’ll commence our pre-program road safety awareness campaign shortly in preparation for transportation of this ore in coming months."
While the trucking program between Dugald River and Century mine will last for six months, it is likely to take four to six weeks to process this batch of Dugald River ore on the Century processing circuit.
MMG expects to produce 320,000–370,000 tonnes of zinc and 75,000–85,000 tonnes of lead at Century in 2015. Annual guidance excludes the processing of Dugald River ore using Century’s infrastructure.
Dugald River update
MMG also provided an update on the progression of a development pathway for its Dugald River development project.
An updated development plan for Dugald River is now under consideration following the completion of the 2014 trial stoping program, value engineering and associated project studies.
The plan is likely to include lower annual throughput over a longer mine life with a simplified logistics chain.
MMG will continue to review all available options with the objective of developing the project in a way that maximises long-term shareholder value. A decision regarding the project is expected during the third quarter 2015.
Mine development continued during the first quarter of 2015 with 1,398 metres of development across both the North and South declines.
Ore haulage at MMG Century. MMG expects to complete mining in the Century open pit during the second quarter of 2015.
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