Cradle Arc Plc (LON:CRA) has now exposed approximately two million tonnes of accessible transitional and supergene ore at Mowana North pit and North Rim Extension of the Mowana copper project in Botswana.
Such material is anticipated to deliver improved recoveries at a reduced production cost over the remainder of the year and into 2019.
Meanwhile, there have been further processing interruptions due to intermittent equipment breakdowns and, most recently, a delay in the delivery of a new part for the primary crusher hydraulic power pack at the plant.
As a result, Cradle Arc now expects total third quarter production to be approximately 10% to 20% lower than its previous forecast.
Actual production of contained copper totalled 292 tonnes and 242 tonnes for July 2018 and August 2018 respectively.
Although the interruptions to processing operations have led to inefficiencies with respect to recovery rates, in light of the work completed on the open pit and the expectation of improved material throughput and recoveries going forward, the company is confident of an improvement in performance in the fourth quarter of 2018.
The overall target of 4,000 tonnes for the second half of 2018 is, however, currently under review.
On a longer-term view, Cradle Arc continues to seek financing for its proposed Dense Media Separation upgrade project, but in light of the continued processing plant interruptions, the immediate focus will be on securing the requisite funding to improve and rehabilitate the current processing facilities.
"In spite of the continued sporadic interruptions being experienced at the Mowana processing plant, we have made good progress with our open-pit mining activities with a large amount of waste stripping completed in order to lay the groundwork for a strong period of ore delivery going forward,” said chief executive Kevin van Wouw.
"Whilst production during the third quarter has been disappointing and our overall production guidance for the second half of 2018 is under review, we are working hard to get Mowana on a sound and sustainable footing for what could potentially be decades of production, given the recent renewal of our permits along strike to the north of the open pit."