Aurelia Metals has put the Nymagee copper development nearby its flagship Hera mine in central New South Wales on hold, and instead tripled its exploration budget.
The company’s recent testwork results on the Nymagee ore found a presence of contaminants, particularly talc and pyrrhotite, indicating that the assumed scoping study base metal recoveries are unlikely to be achievable. The work index of ore tested was also higher than expected, which will drive up power consumption and lower throughput rates.
Aurelia has previously obtained $50 million in debt funding from Glencore for the Nymagee development.
The deposit was envisioned to be “another ‘Cobar giant’” similar to the CSA copper deposit, joining Hera’s gold, lead, zinc and silver production.
Nymagee’s PFS work will be suspended until future exploration increases its resources base significantly.
Upon this finding, the Orange-based company more than tripled its exploration budget – from the current financial year’s $4 million budget to approximately $15 million for the 2020 financial year.
The exploration program will focus on the Federation and Dominion discoveries near Hera, Peak targets, Hera/Nymagee near mine targets and regional exploration.
“In light of recent metallurgical testwork results from Nymagee, we believe the decision to defer further work on the Nymagee PFS is financially and technically prudent,” Aurelia chairman and acting chief executive Cobb Johnstone said.
“Aurelia plans to undertake further exploration and project scoping work at Nymagee, and if successful may revisit the development potential of this asset in the future.”