African Copper Plc
AIM : ACU

African Copper Plc

August 08, 2012 02:00 ET

African Copper Plc: Production Update-Record Concentrate Production in July after Plant Issues Rectified

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Aug. 8, 2012) - African Copper Plc ("African Copper" 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.

All of the ore processed at the Mowana processing facility during the period from April to July 2012 was sourced from the higher grade Thakadu mine, where mining operations continue to move towards sustained production of sulphide ore. Ore trucking operations from Thakadu to the Mowana Mine processing facilities ran smoothly during the period.

Recent production levels are set out below:
Description April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012
Ore processed (Mt) 60,232 34,051 77,625 89,727
Cu grade (%) 1.72 2.56 1.77 1.91
Recovery (%) 67.7 30.9 46.2 55.7
Concentrate produced (Mt) 3,123 1,030 2,735 4,319
Copper produced in concentrate (Mt) 704 270 635 955

As previously announced, production during the April to June quarter was adversely affected by the failure of the Mowana mill pinion shaft on 20 May 2012, which caused a 43% decline in ore processed between April and May 2012 whilst repairs were undertaken. A spare pinion shaft, already on order, was fast tracked from the supplier in France. A total of 15 days were lost during the outage; but during that period the mill gearbox and pinion shaft assembly were replaced, and a mill reline completed. Production restarted on 4 June 2012.

In April, a total of 704 tonnes of copper in concentrate was produced at a high recovery rate of 67.7%, owing to the treatment of predominantly sulphide ore from the Thakadu mine, at an open pit depth of 50m. During May and June, the plant reverted to treating oxide and mixed ores from previously mined Thakadu material, and the resulting lower recovery rates of these ore types caused a decrease in copper in concentrate production for these months.

During July, significant improvements in production were achieved. Total ore processed increased 16% on June 2012 production while recovery rates increased from 46.2% to 55.7%, as higher recovery sulphide ore from the Thakadu mine was processed. Furthermore record production of 955 tonnes of copper in concentrate was achieved on the back of good plant availability and utilisation. As mining from the Thakadu open pit continues, the Company expects to continue to be able to access and process the higher recovery sulphide ore for a sustained period.

The capital investment at the Mowana plant, particularly the column cells and Larox filter has resulted in a marked improvement in silica removal from the ore being processed and a reduction in moisture content of the concentrate from the cells and filter respectively.

Operations are currently focussed on sustaining, and then improving on, the production levels seen during July.

Commenting, Jordan Soko, Acting Chief Executive of African Copper, said, "The ramp up in production in July is a tribute to the management team at Mowana. Going from a total shut down in May and early June to record ore processing levels and concentrate recoveries in July shows the quality and dedication of our people at the Mine and the high quality of the Thakadu ore. I congratulate the team on a job well done."

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.

Notes to Editors:

African Copper is an AIM and Botswana listed copper producer and exploration company, currently focussed on Botswana. The Company's flagship project is the copper producing open pit Mowana Mine. African Copper 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 sustained commercial production levels, positive indications at Thakadu of sulphide ore availability, 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) 207 523 8000