In its third-quarter earnings report, MMG Ltd. gave an update on Las Bambas —saying overall mechanical construction is largely complete — and production totals for the company.
MMG CEO Andrew Michelmore said the focus at Las Bambas has now moved to pre-commissioning, commissioning and the closeout of remaining construction activity. “Testing of equipment using low grade ore is under way and our team will remain focused on project commissioning throughout 2015,” he said.
Concentrate production from Las Bambas remains on track for the first quarter of 2016, Michelmore added.
MMG’s existing operations also continued to deliver during the quarter, with the company achieving a new total quarterly copper production record. MMG produced a total of 52,464 metric tons (mt) of copper during the third quarter — 8% higher than the previous record period.
Michelmore said this performance was the result of the company’s strategy of leveraging value from its operations. The Sepon mine produced 24,062 mt of copper cathode during the third quarter — 3% higher than the previous quarter and 11% higher than the same period 2014. “This again demonstrates the value of plant and operational improvements driving asset utilization higher as Sepon processes more difficult ‘Type II’ ores,” he said.
The company’s Kinsevere mine produced 20,680 mt during the quarter to sustain annualized production at more than 130% of nameplate plant capacity.
“As a result of our third quarter performance, we have further increased our copper production guidance for Kinsevere for 2015 by 3,000 mt to 73,000-78,000 mt,” Michelmore said.
MMG also produced a total of 130,157 mt of zinc in zinc concentrate during the third quarter, with final ore being extracted from the Century open-pit during August. Michelmore said the completion of mining at Century marked the end of an era for MMG, and the global zinc industry. “Throughout its life, Century has been one of the largest zinc mines in the world, accounting for approximately 4% of total global supply at its peak. Century has made a significant contribution to MMG and the region over 16 years of operation,” Michelmore said.
The completion of Century production in 2015 will further impact shrinking global zinc supply at a time of increasing global demand, Michelmore explained. “This supports our decision to invest in one of the world’s largest high-grade undeveloped zinc deposits at Dugald River,” he said.
The Dugald River revised project plan received board approval during July and the project is now in development.