Trevali Mining’s Caribou zinc mine in the Bathurst mining camp of northern New Brunswick achieved commercial production effective July 1. Having achieved this key milestone, the company is continuing to optimize operations and ramp up production to boost efficiencies, recovery rates, and ultimately metal concentrate production. Production guidance for the period July 1 to December 31, stands at 37 million lb to 41 million lb of zinc in zinc concentrate and 14 million lb to 15 million lb of lead and 380,000 oz to 420,000 oz of silver in lead concentrate.
Future annual production of metal in concentrates is forecast to average 93 million lb/y of zinc, 32.5 million lb/y of lead, 3.1 million lb/y of copper, 730,000 oz/y of silver, and 1,500 oz/y of gold.
Mine life is currently planned at 6.3 years.
Trevali says it expects Caribou to produce 37 million lb-41 million lb of zinc in concentrate along with 14 million-15 million lb of lead and 380,000 oz-420,000 oz of silver in lead concentrate during the second half of 2016.
The Caribou operations team is now focusing on improving plant operations, including increasing the number of sample stations for the on-stream sample analyzer; installing newly designed lifters and shell liners in the SAG mill; and improving pumping infrastructure to improve circuit stability, and consequently recoveries, when handling the finely ground process feed.
During June, the underground mine delivered the largest number of stope metric tons (mt) to the mill to date, with monthly production averaging 2,423 mt/d. From July onward, further mine optimization is expected to lift the production rate to more than 2,700 mt/d.
Geologically, year-to-date reconciliation to the block model is very high at 97% correlation, and dilution remains below design levels, resulting in delivery of increased metal units to the mill. A 10,000-m resource conversion drill program is in progress and will be ongoing to year end. Mineralization remains open for expansion at depth and to the northwest.
Trevali President and CEO Mark Cruise said, “Declaring commercial production at Caribou represents a major milestone for Trevali’s second operating zinc mine and strengthens the company’s position as the only current primary zinc producer on the Toronto Stock Exchange poised to benefit from the forecast zinc commodity price rally. This achievement, during a time of challenging market conditions, is a testament to the professionalism, dedication, attitude, and hard work of our Caribou team, including our valued contractors and partners.
“Based on our experience at our Santander mine in Peru, I remain extremely confident that ongoing optimizations at Caribou will continue through the remainder of 2016, as exemplified by Caribou zinc recoveries in early July already averaging 82%.”