Finders Resources announced in mid-June that it has plated and stripped the first copper at the recently commissioned, 25,000-metric-ton-per-year (mt/y) copper cathode solvent extraction/electrowinning (SX-EW) plant at its Wetar copper project on Wetar Island, Indonesia. Production from the new plant will add to production of an already-operating, 3,000-mt/y SX/EW plant at the project, increasing project capacity to 28,000 mt/y of cathode copper. Mine life is estimated at 10.5 years.
Finders is 72% owner and operator of the Wetar copper project. The project is based on open-pit mining and heap leaching of the Kali Kuning and Lerokis high-grade sulphide deposits located within 3 km of the coast of Wetar Island. The project benefits from existing infrastructure from a prior gold-mining era, particularly a wharf, camp, roads and partially prestripped copper ore bodies.
A worker monitors copper cathode stripping at the Wetar copper operation in Indonesia. (Photo: Finders Resources)
The Wetar SX/EW plants produce LME Grade A copper cathode. Production is being sold under off-take contracts with Tennant Metals Pty and Standard Bank PLC, each for 40% of the life-of-mine production, with the remaining 20% committed to Daewoo International Corp. All product to date has been sold into Asian markets at a premium to LME copper prices, reflecting spot premiums in Asia and the quality of the cathode.
Capital costs to develop the Wetar Island project are expected to come in at about $132.4 million. Cash operating costs are estimated at $0.88/lb of copper.
Project mineral resources currently stand at 9.2 million mt at a grade of 2.4% copper for 216,000 mt of contained copper. Opportunities for mine-life extension include the nearby Meron deposit and other identified VMS copper and gold targets on Wetar Island.
Finders Resources is an Australian company headquartered in West Perth, Western Australia. In addition to the Wetar Island copper project, the company is developing its 72% owned Ojolali gold-silver project on southern Sumatra Island, Indonesia. The Ojolali project has a current defined oxide gold resource of 175,000 oz.