THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Ivanhoe Australia has achieved the first production of copper and gold concentrate at the company’s Osborne processing facilities south of Cloncurry, in northwestern Queensland.
“The commencement of copper-gold production at the Osborne facilities is an important first step in what we envisage will be the creation of a strong cashflow stream for 15 to 20 years”, Ivanhoe Australia chief executive officer Peter Reeve said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.
“With our inexpensive acquisition of Osborne, the start of road construction to the Starra copper and gold mines, and our recent exploration successes around Osborne and Starra, we believe a long mine life is assured.
“Ivanhoe Australia is well on the way to achieving its vision of becoming a significant, Australian base-metals producer.”
Ivanhoe Australia acquired the Osborne complex less than 18 months ago and has since developed the Kulthor underground resource and restarted the Osborne underground mine within the company’s scheduled time frame.
Osborne and Kulthor cross section. Source: Company announcement
The company said its exploration and resource definition efforts conducted near mine at Osborne and also to the north along the Starra Line has continued to build its understanding and definition of the field, and reinforced its confidence in the projected mine life of 15 to 20 years.
Ivanhoe commissioned the plant in late January and has progressed to initial production of concentrate, ahead of schedule, on February 28.
Production officially began at Osborne on March 7, with the achievement of steady-state production of concentrate and the haulage of first concentrate to the Townsville port.
Throughput at the processing plant has ramped up to 220 tonnes of ore per hour (an annualised rate of 1.65 million tonnes, assuming a 95 per cent utilisation rate), which is in line with the original ramp-up schedule.
Ivanhoe said it expects production throughput at the Osborne plant for 2012 to be approximately 700,000 to 900,000 tonnes of ore and 1.8 to 2 million tonnes in 2013.
Approximately 80,000 tonnes of ore are stockpiled on the run-of-mine (ROM) pad, providing a buffer of around 20 days of mill production.