Independence Group achieves production records at WA operations

Independence Group is on track to reach its guidance after delivering record results from the Nova and Tropicana mines in Western Australia.

The Nova copper-nickel operation achieved record metal production of 7574 tonnes of nickel and 3482 tonnes of copper in the December quarter. This represented a 10.5 per cent and 15 per cent boost on the previous quarter’s results, respectively.

Cash costs averaged $1.94 per pound, 30 per cent higher than the previous three-month period’s $2.78.

The Nova operation achieved these results through process optimisation of copper recovery, according to Independence Group managing director and chief executive officer Peter Bradford.

“Going forward, we envisage further opportunity to unlock improved productivity, cost and safety outcomes through continuing optimisation, including leveraging investments made in technology in the process plant and underground.”

The Tropicana joint venture, meanwhile, produced 136,891 ounces of gold in the December quarter, a 9.4 per cent rise on the 125,100 ounces recorded in the previous period.

Production was aided by the recent addition of a second ball mill at the site, delivering a “step change” in throughput and gold recovery, according to Bradford.

Additionally, a pre-feasibility study for the project’s proposed underground development, Boston Shaker, was also completed. Development is anticipated to start development in the June 2019 quarter.

The company’s ambitious plans for greenfields expansion in 2019 across the Fraser Range and Lake Mackay were also highlighted in the company’s latest quarter, having entered two separate joint ventures (JV) with juniors Buxton Resources and Encounter Resources in November 2018.

“We have further expanded our exploration portfolio of belt scale nickel and copper opportunities through joint ventures with Buxton and Encounter, which have significant landholdings in the King Leopold Orogen and Paterson province of Western Australia, respectively,” said Bradford.

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