KAZ Minerals PLC (United Kingdom) announces 1Q 2016 production results
OREANDA-NEWS. KAZ MINERALS GROUP PRODUCTION REPORT FOR THE FIRST QUARTER ENDED 31 MARCH 2016 AND INTERIM MANAGEMENT STATEMENT.
Projects ramping up on schedule, production on track to achieve 2016 guidance
Q1 2016 copper cathode equivalent1 production of 21.5 kt
Production at Bozshakol commenced in late February, 1.1 kt of copper in concentrate output in the quarter
No major issues encountered and all the main sections of the plant are now in operation
Throughput volume increasing as expected in April
Trial sales shipment completed in March, two shipments dispatched in April
Production guidance maintained at 45-65 kt of copper cathode equivalent1 and 50-70 koz of gold bar equivalent
1.5 kt of copper cathode produced at Aktogay as the SX/EW facility ramps up
Output of 35 tonnes per day achieved on average to date in April, will ramp up further to achieve output of 15 kt in 2016
East Region and Bozymchak
Copper cathode equivalent1 output of 19.7 kt, on course to achieve full year guidance of 70-75 kt
Bozymchak operated at design capacity following optimisation works in Q4 2015
Zinc in concentrate production of 19.9 kt and silver granule equivalent1 of 749 koz
Gold bar equivalent1 quarterly output doubled to 12.7 koz
Copper cathode sales of 23 kt
Net debt of $2,425 million at 31 March 2016, $1,205 million of funds and available facilities
Oleg Novachuk, Chief Executive, said: “In the first quarter of 2016 the Bozshakol sulphide concentrator commenced operation and the ramp up of the new facility is proceeding in line with expectations. To date, we have dispatched three shipments of copper concentrate from Bozshakol to our customers in China. At Aktogay, the commissioning of our oxide operations is also on schedule and our mines in the East Region and Bozymchak have delivered a strong start to 2016. We expect to achieve our full year copper production target of 130-155 kt, delivering industry leading production growth at highly competitive cash costs.
KAZ Minerals PLC (“KAZ Minerals” or “the Group”) is a high growth copper company focused on large scale, low cost, open pit mining in Kazakhstan. It operates the Bozshakol mine, oxide operations at Aktogay, four mines and three concentrators in the East Region of Kazakhstan and the Bozymchak copper-gold mine in Kyrgyzstan. In 2015, total copper cathode output from the East Region and Bozymchak was 81 kt with by-products of 94 kt of zinc in concentrate, 3,135 koz of silver granule and 35 koz of gold bar. The Group commenced production from Bozshakol, its first large scale open pit project, in February 2016.
The Group has a second major project, Aktogay, with sulphide processing facilities currently under construction. These projects are expected to deliver one of the highest growth rates in the industry and transform KAZ Minerals into a company dominated by world class open pit copper mines.
Bozshakol will have an annual ore processing capacity of 30 million tonnes when fully ramped up, a mine life of 40 years at a copper grade of 0.36% and is a first quartile asset on the global cost curve. The mine and processing facilities will produce 100 kt of copper cathode equivalent and 120 koz of gold in concentrate per year over the first 10 years of operations.
The Aktogay project in the East of Kazakhstan is the Group’s second copper mining asset under construction. Aktogay commenced production of copper cathode from oxide ore in December 2015, and the production of copper in concentrate from sulphide ore is expected to begin in 2017. The sulphide concentrator will have an annual ore processing capacity of 25 million tonnes when fully ramped up. The deposit has a mine life of more than 50 years with average copper grades of 0.33% (sulphide) and 0.37% (oxide). Aktogay is competitively positioned on the global cost curve and will produce an average of 90 kt of copper cathode equivalent from sulphide ore and 15 kt of copper cathode from oxide ore per year over the first 10 years of operations.
KAZ Minerals is listed on the London Stock Exchange, the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and employs around 11,000 people, principally in Kazakhstan.
Ore extraction of 10,605 kt was 2,565 kt or 32% above the volume mined in Q4 2015, mainly due to increased mining of oxide ore at Aktogay for placement onto the leach pads. Total ore output at Bozshakol reduced by 17% compared to Q4 2015 when higher volumes of clay ore were stripped to access sulphide ore to supply the concentrator. The East Region and Bozymchak increased ore output by 144 kt or 13% to 1,236 kt compared to Q4 2015 to support higher throughput at the optimised Bozymchak concentrator in Q1 2016.
Total ore extraction was more than ten times the volume mined in Q1 2015 due to the commencement of large scale open-pit mining at Aktogay and Bozshakol.
Copper in concentrate output of 22.4 kt in Q1 2016 includes the first contribution from Bozshakol of 1.1 kt following initial production in February 2016.
Copper cathode equivalent production in Q1 2016 benefitted from 1.5 kt of output from Aktogay oxide. Output of 19.7 kt from the East Region and Bozymchak and a small contribution from the first sale of Bozshakol copper in concentrate resulted in Group production of 21.5 kt. East Region and Bozymchak production reduced by 2.6 kt or 12% compared to Q4 2015, as expected, due to lower copper grades, but remains on track to achieve 2016 guidance of 70-75 kt.
Zinc in concentrate production was 1.1 kt or 5% below the previous quarter and 21% below Q1 2015 as mining continued in areas with lower zinc grades at the Artemyevsky and Orlovsky mines. The first quarter output of 19.9 kt represents good progress towards the 2016 zinc in concentrate production target of 70-75 kt.
Gold bar equivalent production of 13 koz included an increased contribution from the newly optimised Bozymchak concentrator and benefitted from the sale in January of 5.2 koz of gold in concentrate carried forward from 2015, partly offset by a build-up of work in progress at the Balkhash smelter.
Silver granule equivalent production of 751 koz was 10% higher than the 686 koz produced in Q4 2015 mainly due to a release of work in progress at the Balkhash smelter. Underlying silver in concentrate output was 776 koz, a reduction of 25 koz or 3% compared to Q4 2015 and 88 koz or 10% lower than in Q1 2015.