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Extreme weather dampens 29Metals’ quarter results

Copper producer 29Metals has released its March quarter report for the 2023 financial year.

The Capricorn copper mine was affected by unprecedented rainfall in early March, leading to the mine’s operations being suspended on March 8. Its recovery planning is underway with an update to be reported in mid-May.

Capricorn’s copper production was 2.6 kilotons (kt) for the two months to end February 2023, a decrease from the previous quarter which saw 5.3 kt produced. The low copper production was due to reduced milling rates to manage tailings capacity at the site and its planned maintenance, which was exacerbated by the extreme weather.

Capricorn’s costs were also lower with site costs of $31 million for the two months to end February 2023, compared to the previous quarter’s $51 million. 29Metals credits the lower costs spent to the lower activity and the suspension of Capricorn.

29Metals’ chief executive officer Peter Albert said the extreme weather at Capricorn dominated the March quarter results but is proud of the Capricorn team’s efforts to manage safety after the fact.

“During and after the extreme weather event the team at Capricorn Copper did a tremendous job managing safety and protecting the environment,” Albert said.

“The outstanding drilling results at Capricorn Copper reported earlier this month demonstrate the long-term value of the mine. We are laser-focused on the recovery plan, to return Capricorn Copper to operations and realise its potential.”

However, the March quarter results were not all negative. 29Metals saw its safety metrics improve, which Albert said was a testament to the company’s focus on safety.

“Group safety metrics continued to improve, with the total recordable injury frequency rate (of 8.1 per million work hours) decreasing for a fifth consecutive quarter and a reduction in lost time injury frequency rate (with Capricorn having five-months recordable injury-free to end March 2023),” Albert said.

The Capricorn copper mine will see the full reinstatement in 2024.

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