New Century has announced record zinc production and significant increase in metallurgical recovery from its Century mine operations in North West Queensland.
On Thursday the company told the ASX it had recorded over 50 percent in quarterly zinc production, with 18,170t zinc metal produced (37,500t concentrate at 48.3% zinc and 152g/t silver) .
New Century said this was a significant increase in total zinc recovery, with operations averaging 50% recovery for March 2019.
The company said the third mining cannon was now online which would enable an increase of mining rate into 2019 Quarter 2 to between 8Mtpa and 10Mtpa .
The zinc mine plant capacity is scheduled to more than double in 2019 through further flotation cell refurbishments in a Phase 2 expansion ramping up to five cannons.
Water from these high pressured water cannons are shot into a dried-up dam to re-slurry tailings from the previous 16 years of operation until MMG shut it down in 2015.
New Century managing director Patrick Walta said that during the first quarter the operations continued the successful ramp up of plant performance, with total zinc recoveries averaging 50% for March 2019, peaking at 54% (86% of the design target).
"The improved plant performance resulted in a 50.4% increase in total metal production from operations, with 18,170t of zinc metal produced in 37,500t of concentrate grading 48.3% zinc," Mr Walta said.
This was up from 25,500t at 47.0% zinc in Q4 2018.
Mr Walta said the quality of zinc concentrate produced also improved significantly over the quarter, with a 25% decrease in the lead impurity content.
"While hydraulic mining operations maintained two cannons in operation for Q1 2019, wet season effects and mining of marginally lower grade zones of the tailings dam caused an 8% reduction in overall zinc metal mined," he said.
"Despite this decrease, the operations still achieved an increase in metal production of over 50%, further demonstrating the significance in improvement of plant metallurgical performance".
Mr Walta said the installation of a third mining cannon and pumping system would allow the operation ramp up to 10Mtpa during Q2 2019 and New Century are targeting five cannons and ramp up to 15Mtpa mining rate by the end of the year, exported by via pipeline to Karumba.
In a recent presentation to the Brisbane Mining Club, New Century said the original big zinc ore body used by MMG was cut off in the north face by faulting and there was an opportunity to discover missing "displaced" section of the original ore body.
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