In its third quarter earnings report, Ivernia gave details on recent efforts to improve recovery and maximize head grades for ore from the Paroo Station mine. Located in Western Australia, Paroo Station is the world’s largest lead carbonate mine. Ivernia’s revenue for the quarter was $37.1 million based on the sale of 27,000 metric tons (mt) of lead concentrate containing 18,300 mt of lead. The Paroo Station mine produced 29,900 mt of lead concentrate containing 20,400 mt of lead during the same period.
Sales were interrupted briefly during the quarter. A transportation route suffered a disruption due to a rail bridge closure that resulted in the suspension of shipments from the Port of Fremantle for three weeks. The operation continued to stockpile lead concentrate and recommenced shipping shortly after the re-opening of the bridge on September 5. The company, however, expects to remain on target to meet its 2014 sales guidance of 80,000 and 85,000 mt of lead.
The mill processed more than 350,000 mt of ore during the third quarter, which was an increase of 6% compared to the corresponding quarter in 2013. The average head grade of ore for the third quarter of 2014 was 7.2% lead compared to an average head grade of 6.9% for the third quarter of 2013.
The amount of ore processed during the quarter was a 19% improvement over the second quarter of 2014. The 19% increase in milling was offset by the 14% reduction in head grade enabling them to produce similar quantities of lead when compared to the second quarter of 2014. At higher grades of lead, the mill’s processing capacity is limited by the filter press. At lower grades of lead, the milling capacity is not constrained by the filter press.
The improved production output in the second and third quarters of 2014 has kept the mine on target. The improved performance in the second and third quarters resulted from the activation of a number of operational plans, which centered on improving recovery, increasing head grades of ore delivered to the mill and the reclamation of low grade concentrate sent to the process dam.
The Paroo Station mine was placed on care and maintenance in April 2011. In April 2013, Ivernia recommenced mining, processing and transportation operations.