THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Altona Mining (ASX: AOH) is making solid progress in regard to operations on the company’s Outokumpu project in South East Finland.
The Outokumpu project comprises the new Kylylahti underground mine and the refurbished Luikonlahti processing plant.
The operation involves ore being trucked 42 kilometres from the mine to the mill.
“I am delighted to report that recent performance at the Outokumpu project is ahead of market guidance in terms of production, design throughput and copper grades,” Altona Mining managing director Dr Alistair Cowden said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.
“As a result, we are raising our production guidance for the 2012/2013 year.”
Altona commenced ore production at Outokumpu in January 2012 from ore in development drives.
Stoping commenced in late May and during the December 2012 quarter, mine production reached 140,000 tonnes with average grades for copper at 1.62 per cent and gold at 0.68 grams per tonne.
Altona claimed the production volumes it is achieving at Outokumpu are currently exceeding design rates of 550,000 tonnes per annum (46,000 tonnes per month) while copper grades are surpassing 2012/2013 forecasts (1.33 per cent copper) and life of mine average (1.57 per cent copper).
Source: Company announcement
The company also indicated it is achieving a satisfactory mill performance with metal recoveries, utilisation rates and throughput achieving or exceeding design.
Copper metal production for the quarter was better than what the company had forecast and when annualised, reached the design rate of 8,000 tonnes per annum.
Altona’s production guidance for the 2012/2013 financial year was originally forecast in July 2012 to be between 5,000 and 6,000 tonnes of copper and 5,000 to 6,000 ounces of gold in concentrate.
The company has now confirmed it is on track to exceed the upper level of the guidance highlighted in July 2012.
This has been increased to between 6,500 and 7,000 tonnes of copper metal and 6,500 to 7,000 ounces of gold in concentrate.
Altona commenced copper-gold concentrate shipments in February 2012, which are transported 400km by road to New Boliden’s smelter at Harjavalta in western Finland.
The company said its concentrate sales continue to increase with approximately 9,800 tonnes of copper-gold concentrate delivered in the December 2012 quarter.
Altona shares were sitting at 25c in afternoon trade