Aeris Resources has reported a drop in copper production at the Tritton operations in New South Wales as it continues to manage water quality issues.
The company’s copper production slumped 9 per cent during the December 2019 half year against the same period a year earlier, with lower ore grades also impacting output.
Aeris’ half-year report also indicated that ore production from the Tritton and Murrawombie underground mines was in line with the company’s plan for the period ending December 2019. However, the lower copper grades were due to stope mining sequencing.
The Tritton copper mine near Nyngan produced 12,286 tonnes of copper during the period, a decrease of 982 tonnes compared with the previous corresponding period.
Aeris’ copper production at Tritton was impacted by reduced processing rates in December after WaterNSW imposed restrictions on releases from Burrendong Dam to protect water needs in the Macquarie Valley.
To offset these reduced allocations, Tritton has purchased additional high security water licences on-market. The offtake point for Tritton to access its water allocation has been Gunningbar Creek.
After discussions with WaterNSW and other government agencies it was agreed that a spur water pipeline would be constructed from Tritton and connect into the Nyngan – Cobar water pipeline.
While the new pipeline was being constructed, Aeris Resources used water stored on site in old Tritton activities.
Construction of the pipeline commenced in December last year and was completed in mid-January this year, with first water delivered to Tritton later that month.
The pipeline ensures that the remaining water allocation for the year ending June 2020 can be delivered.
The pipeline will also significantly reduce water losses compared with deliveries to Gunningbar Creek.
Aeris Resources has so far had no further communication from WaterNSW with respect to deliveries against water allocations for the 2021 financial year.