At Atalaya Mining’s AGM, to be held at 11.00 a.m. (UK) today at Portland House, Bressenden Place, London, Greater London SW1E 5RS, United Kingdom, Roger Davey, non-executive Chairman, will make the following statement:
“I am delighted to report 2018 has been another year of new records achieved at your Company’s operating project, Riotinto.
Throughput and metallurgical recoveries increased year-on-year as a result of continuous improvements. The ore processing throughput rate was steadily increased during 2018 to achieve a cumulative plant throughput of 9.8Mtpa, with copper production of 42,100 tonnes, an increase of around 13% from the 37,200 tonnes produced in 2017. The average process plant feed grade of 0.49% copper was consistent with reserve estimates and the process recovery rate improved in 2018 to 88.30% from 85.45% in 2017. Cash operating costs for 2018 of $1.94/lb were well below the original forecast guideline of $2.15/lb to $2.30/lb.
With only minimal interruption to process throughput, the installation of new equipment to expand the design throughput from the present 9.5Mtpa to 15Mtpa throughput has been progressing throughout the year, with an 80% overall project completion at the end of December 2018. Engineering and procurement are now complete and all equipment is on site with the project having now been commissioned.
Mining operations progressed according to plan during 2018 and the additional mining equipment is now available on site in anticipation of the increased mining output scheduled for the second half of 2019.
Exploration and definition drilling continued throughout the year. The Company filed an updated NI 43-101 technical report for an updated resources and reserves estimate for Proyecto Riotinto in July 2018 with a 29% increase in proven and probable reserves, a 21% increase in contained Copper and a reduction in the strip ratio from 1.95:1 to 1.43:1. Allowing for the expanded 15Mtpa throughput, this provides a resultant life of mine reserve of 13.8 years.
Project evaluation work has continued on the Proyecto Touro in Galicia with the Environmental Impact Assessment completed in Q4 2018.
Proyecto Riotinto has also experienced some challenges in the past year. In 2018, a court ruling was handed down identifying a procedural error by the Junta de Andalucía in granting the environmental authorisation (Autorización Ambiental Unificada or “AAU”) to Atalaya in 2014. The Company is currently in discussions with the Junta de Andalucía to resolve the issue identified by the Court and the mine continues to operate as usual as the court ruling does not prevent its normal functioning. The Junta de Andalucía has been publicly supportive of the continuation of the operation and of the mining sector and we are confident that the matter raised by the court ruling will be addressed soon with no impact on our operation.
The Group remains focused on growth opportunities, both internally by expanding Proyecto Riotinto and progressing Proyecto Touro and externally by the technical review of non-Atalaya assets.
Finally, I would like to offer my sincere thanks for the continued commitment and efforts of our management and staff, for the continued support and contributions of all the board members and, last but not least, for the continued support of our valued shareholders.
Once again, we can look to the year ahead with continued confidence and optimism.”
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About Atalaya Mining Plc
Atalaya is an AIM and TSX-listed mining and development group which produces copper concentrates and silver by-product at its wholly owned Proyecto Riotinto site in southwest Spain. In addition, the Group has a phased, earn-in agreement for up to 80% ownership of Proyecto Touro, a brownfield copper project in the northwest of Spain which is currently in the permitting stage. For further information, visit www.atalayamining.com