Nevsun Resources Expects Commercial Copper Output Prior to Year-End 2013

Nevsun Resources Expects Commercial Copper Output Prior to Year-End 2013

10:24 am by Deborah Bacal

The Bisha mine in Eritrea, operated by Nevsun's 60-per-cent owned subsidiary Bisha Share Mining Company, is thought to be one of the highest grade open pit base metal deposits in the world and has a mine life in excess of 12 years. The Bisha mine in Eritrea, operated by Nevsun's 60-per-cent owned subsidiary Bisha Share Mining Company, is thought to be one of the highest grade open pit base metal deposits in the world and has a mine life in excess of 12 years.

Nevsun Resources (TSE:NSU) (NYSE MKT:NSU) says the commissioning of its new Bisha copper plant in Eritrea is progressing well, with commercial production of copper concentrate now expected before the end of this year. 

The company, which is transitioning to a majority copper producer from a gold producer, said Wednesday that the flotation plant throughput is now approaching 70% of its 2014 plan, while copper recoveries are now approaching 80% of the plan for next year. 

The Bisha mine in Eritrea, operated by Nevsun's 60-per-cent owned subsidiary Bisha Share Mining Company, is thought to be one of the highest grade open pit base metal deposits in the world and has a mine life in excess of 12 years.  It is forecasting production of 200 million pounds of copper in 2014, after commissioning for the copper plant began in June of this year, which was followed by the production of lower grade copper-gold-silver concentrate in August. 

The company has since seen a steady improvement in plant stability, it said, as it cautiously advances the project, making some minor plant design modifications as well as plans for tank repairs in 2014 after some initial issues somewhat reduced throughput. Nevsun said the cost of these fixes has not been significant relative to its investment, with capital for the copper plant completion still "well below budget". 

The copper producer made its first copper shipment earlier this month, with two additional shipments planned for November. 

The entire front end of the plant, consisting of crushing and grinding circuit, as well as the back end of the plant, which includes tailings thickening and discharge, is the same as used during the gold phase of production, and accordingly no commissioning was required, Nevsun said. 

The remainder of commissioning activities in 2013 will focus on increasing throughput and improving recoveries and concentrate grades, with the company now anticipating commercial production before year-end, as compared to its previous forecast of early next year. 

Shares of Nevsun rose more than 1% on Wednesday to $3.91 in Toronto. 

Nevsun copper

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