First ore feed at copper-gold operation in Laos

10 June 2008 | 03:57 Code : 17540 Geoscience events
Pan Australian is pleased to announce that ore feed into the process plant’s two...

  Pan Australian is pleased to announce that ore feed into the process plant’s two 13MW mills commenced over the weekend at the Company’s flagship Phu Kham Copper-Gold Operation in Laos.Total construction cost will be within the US$241 million capital budget and completion ahead of the original mid-2008 schedule. Ore feed has commenced using soft transitional (partially oxidised) ore, which does not need crushing and comprises the dominant style of ore to be mined in the first year. Over 750,000 tonnes of transitional ore is stockpiled ready for processing. During the first week of April, it is anticipated that the crusher will be commissioned and all process plant commissioning trials will be completed. Thereafter, the progressive ramp-up in production of copper-gold concentrate to design levels will commence. This initial, first phase development of the Phu Kham Copper-Gold Operation incorporates a process plant with a nominal capacity of 12 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa). At that design rate and current ore reserve1 grades, Phu Kham will produce 200,000 tonnes of concentrate containing on average 52,000 tonnes of copper, 47,000 ounces of gold and 400,000 ounces of silver. The second phase of development, to be implemented by the end of 2009, will deliver a 33% expansion in throughput to 16Mtpa for an additional capital cost of US$40 million. At current ore reserve grades, the expansion will deliver annual production of 65,000 tonnes of copper, 60,000 ounces of gold and 550,000 ounces of silver from 2010 onwards. A new ore reserve estimate will be completed in early April. The combination of revised metallurgical recovery models derived from additional test work and positive infill and resource extension drill results is likely to be reflected by an increase in copper grade. Managing Director Gary Stafford said that he was delighted with the achievement of the company to bring the Phu Kham Project into production within budget and ahead of schedule. “At a time when most companies are struggling to meet capital expenditure and schedule forecasts, it is a tremendous achievement for the PanAust team, our contractors and consultants to deliver the project ahead of schedule and within budget,” Mr. Stafford said. “Phu Kham is one of the most capital efficient mines in the world, with a world low strip ratio (for a copper flotation operation). It is exciting to see the mine poised for expansion through the second phase of development.”

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