Atalaya Mining Plc. (AIM:ATYM, TSX:AYM), the European mining and development company, is pleased to provide an operations update for the first quarter of 2019.
|Ore mined||(M tonnes)||2.5||2.6||2.8||11.4|
|Waste mined||(M tonnes)||3.8||5.4||4.3||17.8|
|Ore milled||(M tonnes)||2.4||2.2||2.6||11.4|
|Cu recovery||(%)||90.27||88.47||88.99||85 – 87|
|Cu production||(tonnes)||10,219||9,441||11,172||45,000 – 46,500|
Q1 2019 copper production was 10,219 tonnes, an 8% increase over the same equivalent quarter of 2018. A total of 2.4Mt of ore was processed with an average copper head grade of 0.46% and a recovery rate of 90.27%. In comparison with the same quarter of 2018, throughput and recovery increased 9% and 2% respectively, while copper head grade was 4% lower. Compared with Q4 2018, which was a record quarter, copper production decreased 9% as a result of slightly lower throughput and head grade, but was in line with the Company’s expectations.
As previously stated, guidance for copper production in 2019 is estimated to be in the range of 45,000 to 46,500 tonnes. This year is anticipated to be one of transition given the upcoming commissioning of the plant expansion which is expected to increase production to within the range of 50,000 to 55,000 tonnes in 2020.
Mining operations are progressing according to plan and at similar levels to previous quarters. On a combined basis, ore, waste and marginal ore amounted to 2.3 million m3 in Q1 2019 versus 2.5 million m3 in Q4 2018. Additional mining equipment is available on site in anticipation of the increase in production scheduled for H2 2019.
On-site concentrate inventories at the end of the quarter were approximately 2,937 tonnes. All concentrate in stock at the beginning of the quarter and produced during the quarter was delivered to the port at Huelva.
Copper prices slightly decreased during the quarter compared with the previous quarter, with an average realised price per pound of copper payable, including the QPs closed in the period, of $2.80/lb compared with $2.85/lb in Q4 2018. The average copper spot price during the quarter was $2.81/lb. The realised price during the quarter, excluding QPs, was approximately $2.82/lb.
Cash operating costs for Q1 2019 are expected to be lower than the annual cost guidance ranges previously provided of $1.95-2.15/lb. Further details on costs will be provided with Q1 Financial Statements to be reported in May 2019.
Exploration around Proyecto Riotinto is progressing well with two drilling programmes under way. Remaining massive sulphides and stockwork mineralisation are being targeted under the Atalaya pit. Lateral extensions of massive sulphides and stockwork are also being drilled around Filon Sur. Geological modelling is being updated as information becomes available.
Expansion to 15Mtpa at Proyecto Riotinto The 15Mtpa expansion project has progressed materially during the quarter with expected mechanical completion on track for the end of Q2 2019. Overall progress completion at the end of the quarter was 97% with construction reporting 72% completion. The new primary crushing area is mechanically well advanced with electrical works progressing. In the new milling area, mechanical activities are progressing according to plan. New flotation and concentrate handling areas are in the final stages of commissioning.
During the quarter, feedback has been received from the relevant Administration bodies as part of the assessment of the environmental impact studies. The Company is busy addressing additional requests to complement current management plans. This stage of the process is expected to last until the end of Q2 2019.
Alberto Lavandeira, CEO commented:
“During the first quarter of 2019 our operations at the Riotinto mine continued to deliver strong operating results. Simultaneously the construction activities for the modernisation and expansion of the plant are expected to meet our self-imposed tight schedule of mechanical completion by the end of the second quarter. Based on the excellent expertise of the teams on site we are confident that the project will be concluded on time and on budget and that we will achieve our full year production guidance.”
Download the announcement here: First Quarter 2019 Operations Update
This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of Regulation (EU) no 596/2014.
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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