African Copper Plc
AIM : ACU

African Copper Plc

May 19, 2011 02:00 ET

African Copper Plc: Production Update

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - May 19, 2011) - African Copper Plc ("ACU" or the "Company") (AIM:ACU)(BOTSWANA:AFRICAN COPPER), the AIM and Botswana listed copper producer and exploration company, announces a production update for its Mowana and Thakadu Mines.

Production

At the Mowana Mine the Company continues to make progress towards reaching commercial production levels. Currently, the Company remains focused on opening up the pit by increasing the stripping ratios in the short term to increase the available ore extraction footprint. This has resulted in demand for increased drilling, blasting and load & haul capacity. Ore processing continues to be batch processed on an alternating basis between Mowana and Thakadu ores due to differences in ore quality that requires different reagent suites. The constraint on production levels remains ore delivery to the mill as a result of poor secondary and tertiary ("SnT") crusher availability. However, these constraints have been somewhat offset by improving mill feed copper grades during the past three months.

At the Thakadu Mine, the Company continued with overburden stripping and ore mining to provide both mining and processing flexibility. Negotiations are at an advanced stage with the Botswana Government on the remaining part of the copper deposit under the Archaeological Site. There are some positive indications of ore quality improvement with significant pockets of sulphide ore having been extracted.

Combined production levels for the Company's financial year fourth quarter to 31 March 2011 are set out below, together with comparatives:



Description

April 2011
Jan to March 2011Jan to March 2010Oct to Dec 2010Oct to Dec 2009
FY* 2011

FY* 2010
Ore processed (Mt)57,540131,60492,047182,013148,286632,981290,259
Cu grade (%)2.131.681.121.391.251.371.24
Recovery (%)46504149494845
Concentrate produced (Mt)2,7915,0341,9365,8293,20318,7786,280
Copper produced in concentrate (Mt)5641,107 4281,246 9074,143 1,620
Payable copper sold (Mt)4051,2664609819753,8411,435
*Fiscal Year ended 31 March

Mowana facilities investment programme

The Amec Minproc Study on the SnT crusher modifications has been completed, and the Company is reviewing the report to determine a cost-effective implementation plan to complete modifications as soon as possible. Further initiatives to improve efficiency of the operations are also underway. These include the installation of a 200 tonne per day press filter for efficiency improvements in copper concentrate filtration, the installation of column flotation cells to upgrade the copper concentrate by reducing the silica content in the concentrate, completion of long term contracts for services in areas such as blast hole drilling, load and haul of ore and waste; ore transportation from Thakadu mine to Mowana mine; blasting & explosives supply and fuel supply & management.

Commenting, Jordan Soko, Acting Chief Executive of African Copper Plc, said, "Production levels are improving and our absolute focus remains on achieving the sustained commercial production levels that our high quality deposits justify. The redesigned Mowana Mine facilities will allow us to do just that and we are making good progress towards this goal."

The technical information in this announcement has been reviewed and approved by David De'Ath, BSc (Hons), MSc, GDE-Mining, MIMM and MAusIMM, the Company's Manager, Geology, of the Mowana Mine for the purposes of the current Guidance Note for Mining, Oil and Gas Companies issued by the London Stock Exchange in June 2009.

For further information please visit www.africancopper.com.

Notes to Editors:

African Copper Plc is an AIM and Botswana listed copper producer and exploration company, currently focused on Botswana. The Company's flagship project is the copper producing open pit Mowana Mine. ACU also owns the rights to the adjacent Thakadu-Makala deposit. Both deposits are situated on the highly prospective Matsitama belt, located close to Botswana's second largest city, Francistown, in the north-eastern part of the country.

This announcement contains forward-looking information. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, that address activities, events or developments that the Company believes, expects or anticipates will or may occur in the future including, without limitation, statements regarding progress towards reaching commercial production levels, increasing stripping ratios to increase the available ore extraction footprint, the constraints on production levels resulting from poor SnT crusher availability, the stage of negotiations with the Botswana Government regarding the Archaeological Site, positive indications of ore quality improvement, the stage of development and resulting improvements to efficiency relating to planned upgrades are forward-looking information. This forward-looking information reflects the current expectations or beliefs of the Company based on information currently available to the Company. Forward-looking information is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that may cause the actual results of the Company to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking information, and even if such actual results are realized or substantially realized, there can be no assurance that they will have the expected consequences to, or effects on the Company. Factors that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from current expectations include, among other things, risks related to failure to convert estimated mineral resources to reserves, conclusions of economic evaluations, changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined, the possibility that actual circumstances will differ from the estimates and assumptions used in the current Thakadu mining plan, future prices of copper, unexpected increases in capital or operating costs, possible variations in mineral resources, possible delays or ability to contract the necessary transportation arrangements between Thakadu and Mowana, grade or recovery rates, failure of equipment or processes to operate as anticipated, accidents, labour disputes and other risks of the mining industry, delays in obtaining governmental consents, permits, licences and registrations and political risks arising from operating in Africa and changes in regulations affecting the Company. All forward-looking information speaks only as of the date hereof and, except as may be required by applicable securities laws, the Company disclaims any intent or obligation to update any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or results or otherwise. Although the Company believes that its expectations reflected in the forward-looking information, as well as the assumptions inherent therein, are reasonable, forward- looking information is not a guarantee of future performance and, accordingly, undue reliance should not be put on such information due to the inherent uncertainty therein.

Contact Information

  • African Copper Plc
    Brad Kipp
    Chief Financial Officer
    +1 (416) 847 4866
    bradk@africancopper.com
    www.africancopper.com

    Tavistock Communications (PR and IR)
    Simon Hudson/Lydia Eades
    +44 (0) 20 7920 3150

    Canaccord Genuity (NOMAD and Broker)
    Andrew Chubb/Tarica Mpinga
    +44 (0) 20 7050 6500