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Central Asia Metals Ltd (LON:CAML)

Central Asia Metals Ltd (LON:CAML)


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Central Asia Metals Ltd RNS Release

2017 Operations Update


RNS Number : 7970B
Central Asia Metals PLC
15 January 2018
 

15 January 2018

 

CENTRAL ASIA METALS PLC

("CAML" or the "Company")

2017 Operations Update

Central Asia Metals plc (AIM: CAML) today provides a Q4 and full year 2017 operations update for the Kounrad dump leach, solvent extraction and electro-winning ("SX-EW") copper recovery plant in Kazakhstan ("Kounrad") and the Sasa zinc-lead mine in Macedonia ("Sasa").

Highlights

-      Completion of $402.5 million Lynx Resources acquisition, 6 November 2017

-      2017 Kounrad

Copper production, 14,103 tonnes

-      2017 Sasa

Zinc production, 21,585 tonnes

Lead production, 29,881 tonnes

CAML attributable zinc and lead metal production from 1 November to 31 December, 3,625 tonnes and 4,951 tonnes respectively

-      2017 Shuak

Initial exploration programme completed with encouraging results

-      2018 production guidance

Kounrad

§ Copper, 13,000 to 14,000 tonnes

Sasa

§ Underground ore production, 780,000 to 800,000 tonnes

§ Zinc, 21,000 to 23,000 tonnes

§ Lead, 28,000 to 30,000 tonnes

-      Cash in the bank on 31 December 2017, $46 million

 

CAML production summary

Metal production (tonnes)

2017 CAML attributable

Q4 2017

Q4 2016

2017

2016

Copper

14,103

3,234

3,010

14,103

14,020

Zinc

3,625

5,347

5,155

21,585

22,515

Lead

4,951

7,437

7,320

29,881

28,955

 

Nick Clarke, Executive Chairman, commented:

"Once again, we are able to report annual copper production from Kounrad at the top end of our guidance range. In addition, following our $402.5 million acquisition of Lynx Resources, we took ownership of the Sasa zinc-lead mine on 6 November 2017, and are pleased that the mine's metal production is also in line with our expectations.  

"We move into 2018 on a solid footing as a diversified base metals producer, with low cost operations in two highly prospective jurisdictions.

"Our 2017 annual results are scheduled to be released on 10 April 2018, when our final dividend for 2017 will also be announced."

Kounrad

Kounrad Q4 copper production of 3,234 tonnes brings total output for 2017 to 14,103 tonnes. Total Kounrad copper produced since operations commenced in 2012 is now 68,426 tonnes.

Cumulatively, 5,566 tonnes of copper have now been recovered from the Western Dumps, which is in line with expectations and equates to approximately 40% of 2017 production. During Q4 2017, output from the Western Dumps was approximately 65% of total production.

Q4 2017 copper cathode sales of 3,516 tonnes brings the 2017 total to 14,181 tonnes. The copper was sold predominantly through CAML's offtake partner, Traxys.

Sasa

Following the acquisition of Lynx Resources, CAML assumed economic ownership of Sasa on 1 October 2017 and completed the acquisition on 6 November 2017. CAML will consolidate the Lynx Resources Group results for two months in the 2017 financial year (from 1 November 2017).   

Sasa employs approximately 700 people and has an excellent track record in terms of health and safety, with a record 400 days having passed without a lost time injury.

In 2017, mined and processed ore was 792,068 tonnes and 793,332 tonnes respectively. The 2017 average head grades were 3.18% zinc and 3.98% lead.

Sasa produces a zinc concentrate and a separate lead concentrate that contains silver. In 2017, 43,676 tonnes of concentrate containing 49.4% zinc and 40,757 tonnes of concentrate containing 73.3% lead were produced. 

Sasa typically receives from smelters approximately 85% of the value of its zinc in concentrate and approximately 95% of the value of its lead in concentrate. Accordingly, 2017 payable production of zinc was 18,091 tonnes and of lead was 28,387 tonnes. CAML attributable payable base metal sales since 1 November 2017 was 2,906 tonnes of zinc and 4,559 tonnes of lead.   

During 2017, Sasa sold 375,544 ounces of payable silver. Due to an existing streaming agreement with Osisko Gold Royalties, CAML will receive a base of $5 per ounce for its silver production for the life of the Sasa mine. 2017 payable silver sales since 1 November was 67,485 ounces.

In Q2 2017, the Sasa team commenced construction of Tailings Storage Facility 4 (TSF4). Construction of this facility is expected to be completed in H2 2018, and should allow for storage of tailings for seven years.

 

Units

2017 CAML attributable

Q4 2017

Q4 2016

2017

2016

Ore mined

t

134,063

202,446

200,945

792,068

782,823

Plant feed

t

132,012

200,298

189,885

793,332

779,231

Lead grade

%

3.98

3.93

4.08

3.98

3.95

Zinc grade

%

3.21

3.14

3.25

3.18

3.41

Lead concentrate

t (dry)

6,784

10,161

9,990

40,757

39,507

-      Recovery

%

94.2

94.4

94.5

94.6

94.1

-      Grade

%

73.0

73.2

73.3

73.3

73.3

-      Contained lead

t

4,951

7,437

7,320

29,881

28,955

Zinc concentrate

t (dry)

7,394

10,893

10,456

43,676

45,548

-      Recovery

%

85.7

85.2

83.5

85.5

84.6

-      Grade

%

49.0

49.1

49.3

49.4

49.4

-      Contained zinc

t

3,625

5,347

5,155

21,585

22,515

 

Shuak

CAML's 2017 Shuak exploration programme was successfully completed in October 2017, targeting four areas within the 197km2 licence area: Mongol I-II, Mongol V, Mongol North, and Severnoe / Kyzyl-Sor.

17,530 metres of core hydrotransport (CHT) drilling (1,013 holes) were completed, plus 5,242 metres of diamond drilling (39 holes). 75% of diamond drilling laboratory results have been returned, with some CHT samples still to be processed.

New areas of oxide mineralisation have been identified at the Kyzyl-Sor prospect and diamond drilling also returned encouraging intercepts of copper sulphide mineralisation at the Mongol V and Mongol I-II prospects, with gold and molybdenum also identified in some cases.

While CAML's preliminary work is encouraging, the team will undertake additional drilling and exploration in order to better understand likely continuity or resource potential of the Shuak licence.

Much of the winter period has and will be spent compiling assay data and designing the 2018 exploration programme, which is expected to commence in June. A key area of focus for 2018 will be delineating the extent of the oxide mineralisation identified at Kyzyl-Sor.

2018 production guidance

CAML targets 2018 Kounrad copper production of between 13,000 and 14,000 tonnes of cathode, of which approximately 65% is expected to be leached from the Western Dumps.

At Sasa, CAML expects underground ore production during 2018 of between 780,000 and 800,000 tonnes. This should result in zinc production of between 21,000 and 23,000 tonnes in concentrate and lead production of between 28,000 and 30,000 tonnes in concentrate.

Cash

As of 31 December 2017, CAML had cash in the bank of $46 million.

For further information contact:

Central Asia Metals plc                                                                Tel: +44 (0) 20 7898 9001

Nick Clarke, Executive Chairman
Nigel Robinson, CFO
Louise Wrathall, Investor Relations
[email protected]             

Peel Hunt (Nominated Adviser & Joint Broker)                      Tel: +44 (0) 20 7418 8900

Ross Allister                                                                                                                                                                         

Richard Crichton                                                                                                                                                                                 

Chris Burrows

Mirabaud Securities (Joint Broker)                                            Tel: +44 (0) 20 3167 7221

Peter Krens       

Blytheweigh (PR Advisers)                                                          Tel: +44 (0) 20 7138 3204

Tim Blythe

Camilla Horsfall

Megan Ray
 

Qualified Person Statement:

 

The technical information contained in this announcement has been reviewed and approved by Nick Clarke, CAML Executive Chairman, a qualified Chartered Engineer and member of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (MIMMM).

 

Note to editors:

 

Central Asia Metals, an AIM-listed UK company based in London, owns 100% of the Kounrad SX-EW copper project in central Kazakhstan and 100% of the Sasa zinc-lead mine in Macedonia. The Company also owns 80% of the Shuak copper exploration property in northern Kazakhstan. For further information, please visit www.centralasiametals.com.

 


This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange
 
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