African Copper PLC
AIM : ACU

African Copper PLC

May 10, 2013 12:33 ET

African Copper production report for the fourth quarter and full year fiscal 2013

Record copper produced in concentrate in FY 2013 up 37% year on year

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwired - May 10, 2013) - African Copper Plc ("African Copper" or the "Company") (AIM:ACU)(BOTSWANA:AFRICAN COPPER), announces production of 2,429 Mt of copper in concentrate for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 from its 100% owned mines in Botswana.

Fourth Quarter and Full Year Production Highlights

  • Ore processed in Q4 of 164,588 Mt; a 7.4% decrease over prior year's Q4 but increased copper recovery of 88.2% (Q4 FY2012: 45.8%) resulted in copper produced in concentrate of 2,429 Mt; a 45.2% increase over prior year's Q4.
  • Full year FY 2013 ore processed increased by 8.5% to 801,901 Mt despite 15 day shut down in Q1.
  • Full year FY 2013 copper recovery increased to 66.5% from 48.4% in the prior year.
  • Full year FY2013 copper produced in concentrate increased by 37.5% to 9,496 Mt

All of the ore processed at the Mowana facilities during FY 2013 was sourced from the higher grade sulphide ore rich Thakadu Mine. Ore processed in the fourth quarter was lower than the third and second quarters as a result of lower ore production following a change in mining contractors which was highlighted during the third quarter results announced on 24 January 2013. During March, ore production improved, and mining took place in the wider, higher grade eastern part of the Thakadu orebody as reflected by the March copper grade. Copper recovery at the plant has continued to benefit from the increasing proportion of sulphide ore, particularly during March 2013 when a new production record of 1,314 tonnes of copper in concentrate was achieved. In the three months reported below, the proportion of sulphide ore processed increased to 80% of the total from 54% in Q3 and 56% in Q2. Trucking operations from Thakadu to the Mowana Mine processing facilities, a distance of 70km, ran to plan throughout the quarter and FY 2013.

Production levels for the three months ended 31 March 2013 are set out below:

Description January February March Total Q4 Total Q3 Total Q2
2013 2013 2013 2012/ 2012/ 2012/
2013 2013 2013
Ore processed (Mt) 41,180 52,933 70,475 164,588 215,383 250,023
Cu grade (%) 1.50 1.27 2.08 1.67 1.71 1.82
Recovery (%) 87.2 85.7 89.7 88.2 69.8 63.4
Concentrate produced (Mt) 2,633 2,826 5,899 11,358 11,829 13,967
Copper produced in concentrate (Mt) 540 575 1,314 2,429 2,577 2,882

Totals for the fiscal year ended 31 March 2013 in comparison with prior years are presented as follows:

Description FY2012/13* FY 2011/12 FY 2010/11
Ore processed (Mt) 801,901 738,921 632,981
Cu grade (%) 1.78 1.93 1.37
Recovery (%) 66.5 48.4 47.7
Concentrate produced (Mt) 44,041 31,027 18,778
Copper produced in concentrate (Mt) 9,496 6,910 4,143

* Production during the first quarter ended 30 June 2012 was adversely affected by the failure of the mill pinion shaft which caused production to be shut down for 15 days.

During December 2012 the mining contractor at Thakadu gave notice of termination of contract, exiting from the mine during January 2013. There was a resultant drop in ore mined during December 2012 and into January 2013. A new mining contractor was engaged during February and ore production ramped up during February approaching more normal levels during March 2013.

Post the period end, April has seen some production issues around the performance of the mill, which has been subject to some vibrations following a production halt for three days for mill relining. Accordingly, April production was 556 Mt of copper in concentrate. We have identified the source of the vibrations and as a result have ordered new mill gear mechanisms which are expected to be available for installation in September 2013 with resultant necessary mill downtime.

Exploration drilling has continued during the fourth quarter in the greater Nakalakwana area targeting Iron Oxide Copper Gold mineralisation within the Matsitama Exploration Licence PL 17/2004; and in the near vicinity of Thakadu Mine to find additional mineable resources.

Mr Jordan Soko, Acting Chief Executive of African Copper, said, "We achieved record copper production from the Mowana facilities in our fiscal year to end March 2013. I am pleased to be able to report to shareholders that our team's hard work on improving operations is at last paying off and that our Mowana and Thakadu assets are beginning to demonstrate the long life and quality that we believed them to possess."

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 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 historicalact, 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
    +44 (0) 20 7920 3150

    Tavistock Communications (PR and IR)
    Kelsey Traynor
    +44 (0) 20 7920 3150

    Canaccord Genuity Limited (NOMAD and Broker)
    Andrew Chubb
    +44 (0) 20 7523 8000

    Canaccord Genuity Limited (NOMAD and Broker)
    Tarica Mpinga
    +44 (0) 20 7523 8000