Sandfire Resources has overcome the impact of increasing diesel and power costs to record a three-month production increase of around 3000 tonnes at its copper operations.
The company recorded contained metal production of 18,675 tonnes of copper for the December quarter compared to 15,946 tonnes for the September quarter, according to its latest quarterly report.
Sandfire also recorded an increase of more than 1000 ounces of gold, producing 8739 ounces over the December quarter against 7515 ounces over the previous three months.
Sandfire managing director and chief executive officer Karl Simich said the company had hit the ground running in 2022.
“All of this was underpinned by another outstanding operational, cost and financial performance by our DeGrussa operations in Western Australia, not withstanding the impact of increasing diesel and power costs, and the general environment of cost inflation being experienced in the resource sector,” he said.
“Operationally, DeGrussa enjoyed a strong December quarter with copper and gold production in line with guidance and we remain on track to achieve our FY2022 production guidance.
“We have increased our C1 cost guidance , principally due to high diesel prices and increased shipping costs, which have been prevalent around the world in recent months.”
According to the quarterly report, Sandfire has maintained its 2022 financial year guidance of 64,000-68,000 tonnes of copper and 30,000-34,000 ounces of gold.
Simich said the Sandfire is also working extremely hard to prepare the business for the scheduled re-opening of the Western Australian borders on February 5, ensuring the company has updated protocols in place to maintain business and operational continuity.
“The December quarter also saw positive progress on other fronts, with the delivery of a maiden mineral resource estimate for the Old Highway gold deposit, 20 kilometres from the DeGrussa Mine,” he said.
“This will underpin ongoing studies for the potential development of a future gold operation leveraging DeGrussa’s existing processing infrastructure.”
In December, Sandfire chairman Derek La Ferla discussed the possibility of transitioning the DeGrussa operations from copper to gold, as the mine approaches its scheduled end of life.
After producing 70,000 tonnes of copper and almost 40,000 ounces of gold for the 2021 financial year, the DeGrussa operations are now into their final year of scheduled operation.