New Century Resources Limited says it has initiated slurry commissioning of the upgraded rougher circuit which will allow full capacity of the entire zinc processing plant for the first time.
New Century said the move will enable them to progressively transition from 9Mtpa to 12Mtpa - a 33% throughput increase over the remainder of this financial year.
New Century said the rougher circuit upgrade was delivered under budget and four weeks ahead of schedule, and was the third and final milestone of refurbishment activities required for the scheduled ramp up to full production.
"The upgraded rougher circuit is anticipated to provide a further increase to overall zinc metal production, with the additional volumetric capacity allowing for both higher throughput rates and improved recoveries via longer slurry residence time through the rougher/scavenger circuit," New Century told the ASX.
"The rougher expansion also allows for continued lowering of overall unit costs of production via increasing metal production against a 70% fixed cost base on site."
New Century said it was also bringing a fourth and final mining cannon online as part of the expansion to 12Mtpa throughput.
They told the ASX hydraulic mining operations have achieved significant improvements since New Century personnel took over mining operations from the previous contractors in October 2019, with each cannon now achieving up to a 33% higher mining rate than previous operational output, up from a maximum 3.0Mtpa to up to 4.0Mtpa each cannon.
The news comes as New Century share price dips on fears of coronavirus impact to the Chinese economy fears.
The price has decreased from 27c a share on January 24 to 10c this week.
The decline is more stark in full calendar year terms with the price dipping from a high of 91c on April 11, 2019.
New Century told the ASX the coronavirus outbreak has had no effect on sales into China or other destinations.
"All production has been sold to date, with sales continuing to be booked out more than a quarter in advance," they said.
They also said recent heavy rain caused relatively minor interruptions and its concentrate logistics infrastructure of the underground slurry pipeline and port facility has been unaffected.
New Century restarted the mine, 300km north of Mount Isa, in 2018 after MMG closed it down in 2015.
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