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Lower production expected from Lumwana

A general view of
the Lumwana plant
in Zambia
Toronto, Canada — MININGREVIEW.COM — 05 October 2009 – Equinox Minerals Limited “’ an international mining company dual-listed on the Canadian and Australian stock exchanges, and focused on its Lumwana copper mine in Zambia “’ has revised its guidance, and now expects the mine to produce at the low end of previous estimates in 2009.
A company announcement released here said Lumwana “’ which is widely billed as Africa’s largest open-pit copper mine “’ should produce 110 000 tonnes of copper this year, compared with previous estimates of 110 000 to120 000 tonnes. Preliminary output in the third quarter was 28 111 tonnes of copper in concentrate, which was an improvement on both the first and second quarters.

The statement added that Equinox, whose only producing asset is Lumwana, had chopped its output forecast from 170 000 tonnes in August due to problems with the ramp-up of the mine, including a lack of mine trucks and mobile shovels, as well as unexpected areas of lower-grade ore.

The company said productivity of both the mine truck and mobile shovel fleets had improved during the quarter, although production continued to be hit by a high proportion of transitional, or lower grade, ore.

The company announced last week that it expected to reach full production at its Lumwana project in north-western Zambia by the middle of next year.

“Once we are up to full-steam production, we should be able to achieve something of the order of 170 000 metric tonnes of copper output a year,” said CEO Craig Williams. “At the end of the second quarter we should be hopefully getting pretty close to full productivity.”

The US$841 million (R6.7 billion) Lumwana mine “’ Zambia’s largest foreign investment project “’ began production in December 2008.