Nevsun Resources, the base/precious metals junior, is progressing smoothly with its Bisha zinc expansion project and expects to sell first concentrate in Q3 or Q4, '16

The Eritrea-based zinc expansion project for the Bisha mine has delivered nearly one million man hours with zero lost time incidents.

Construction remains on-schedule and well under budget with cold commissioning now underway and progressing well.

Hot (ore) commissioning has been delayed one month due to additional supergene copper processing however.

Nevsun Resources says the company’s zinc concentrate marketing is attracting significant interest and forecasting to date positions it at the top end of supergene production guidance.

“With the zinc plant nearly complete, strong demand for products and increasing gold, silver and copper prices since 31 December 2015, we expect higher than budgeted cash flows throughout 2016,” says Cliff Davis, Nevsun CEO.

“The recent precious metal stockpile sales confirm the marketability of the material at more favourable commercial terms than originally expected.  In addition, with the likely prioritisation of shipping the precious metal stockpile material, I am not expecting the first sale of zinc concentrate until late Q3 or early Q4, 2016.”

Bisha zinc expansion project details

The zinc expansion project enables processing of the primary copper-zinc-gold-silver ore at up to 2.4 Mtpa, producing both copper and zinc concentrates from the existing copper flotation and new zinc flotation plants.

Current reserve life with the completed project is to 2025.

[quote]Bisha is one of the few new sources of zinc concentrate hitting the market in 2016.  Its zinc concentrate is expected to be high quality and is attracting significant interest from buyers.  To date its off-take remains completely uncommitted at as the zinc market is expected to continue to tighten.

With the supergene phase confirmed to extend into June, Nevsun Resources is now forecasting the upper end of its production guidance and the lower end of its C1 cash cost guidance for supergene copper.

The forecasted total cost remains approximately $80 million, significantly under the original budget of $100 million.

Precious metal stockpile sales details

Bisha continues to mine, and has historically stockpiled, a variety of highly variable precious metal materials.  In 2015 Bisha invested in equipment to screen and beneficiate portions of the materials in an effort to create saleable contiguous lots of material.

These efforts defined 90 000 t varying materials assaying 20 to 30 g/t gold and 800 to 900 g/t silver.  Bisha continues to successfully market this material throughout 2016.