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Altona Mining commences equipment commissioning at Luikonlahti mill in Finland

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Altona Mining (ASX: AOH) has achieved the milestone of commencement of equipment commissioning at the Luikonlahti mill within the company's Outokumpu Project in Finland.

This follows the recent announcement that the Kylylahti mine at the Outokumpu Project had exposed first ore in the mine decline. Altona now  plans to transport the ore 41 kilometres to the Luikonlahti mill.

Altona’s Outokumpu Project, 400 kilometres north east of Helsinki, lies within Finland’s premier mining district.

The project has declared resources of 15.9 million tonnes of copper dominant polymetallic base metal mineralisation, containing 156,200 tonnes of copper and 32,300 tonnes of nickel, over the Kylylahti, Saramäki, Vuonos, Hautalampi and Riihilampi deposits.

The refurbishment program at the mill is 95% complete, wet testing of flotation equipment has commenced and first low grade ore to be used to commission the crushing circuit has been delivered to the mill. Crushing circuit commissioning will take place next week.

All refurbishment activity is scheduled for completion in late December – early January with production commissioning on ore scheduled for late January.

Plant capacity is currently designed to be 550,000 tonnes per annum and initial engineering studies indicate this capacity can be increased by 45% to 800,000 tonnes per annum for expenditure of about A$7 million.

Local authorities have also completed a €2 million upgrade of the road between the mine and the mill.

The forecast capital cost for the refurbishment of the mill, before receipt of government grants was €13.8 million and about €9.5 million has been spent to date.

Forecast total expenditure to the end of December is about €13 million with a further €1.9 million of capital to expand the concentrate dam deferred until mid 2012.

The mine continues to produce development ore with low grade material to be used for initial commissioning and the company expects that 15,000 tonnes of ore will be available on the ROM pad at the mill by the end of January.

Altona said it is developing a detailed commissioning and ramp up schedule and will release its forecasts for production in 2012.

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