Planned total material movement (ore plus waste) at the Eritrea-based Bisha mine of 21.2 Mt is up 15% from 2017.
To achieve this increase, the mine will take advantage of recently purchased additional heavy mining equipment, shortened haul distances from planned waste dumping in the now exhausted north portion of the pit, and continue to use contractors to enhance maintenance capacity and improve fleet reliability.
An improvement in recoveries from primary ore in 2018 will result from an on-going programme of metallurgical improvement which is already yielding improvements in copper recoveries at the mine.
Recent work has focused on reagent optimisation and further work is planned on water quality and tighter pH control within the flotation circuit. Processing of stockpiled zinc-only ore, which adversely impacted 2017 overall metallurgical performance, is not planned in 2018.
This year the principal source of mill feed is primary ore sourced from the Bisha main pit. This is in contrast to the second half of 2017 when zinc-only stockpiles were processed. Stockpiles of zinc-only ore remain available for processing, if required. At current gold prices there are no plans to monetise precious metal stockpiles in 2018.
Capital investment at Bisha is estimated at $15 million for 2018 including $3 million for continuation of studies investigating the underground potential and $12 million for general sustaining capital.
At Bisha, zinc and copper production are expected to increase, taking advantage of a strong base metals market. The resulting cash flow and dividend redeployment will bolster an already strong balance sheet enabling growth from Timok development and exploration,” says Peter Kukielski, Nevsun Resources president and CEO.