IGO outperforms Nova production expectations

The Nova operation in Western Australia. Image: Independence Group

Independence Group (IGO) has topped off a strong 2019 financial year, exceeding metal production guidance at its Nova operations in Western Australia.

The company’s nickel production for the financial year totalled 30,708 tonnes at the Nova site, outperforming the company’s initial guidance of between 27,000 to 30,000.

IGO’s copper production at the site also exceeded guidance, equalling 13,693 tonnes, which is above the 2019 financial year guidance of between 11,000–12,500 tonnes.

Chief executive officer Peter Bradford said the results at Nova highlighted a strong quarter of operating and financial results.

“Nova has now been in commercial production for two years and over the last give quarters has delivered metal production at a higher rate than the average metal production rate projected in the feasibility study,” Bradford said.

“Combined with this consistent delivery, Nova is the lowest cost nickel producer in Australia and one of the lowest cost in the world despite by-product credit pricing head winds.”

IGO also reported significantly improved nickel recoveries at Nova, increasing from 86.8 per cent in the previous quarter to 89 per cent in the June quarter.

This was attributed to optimisation work and a full quarter of use of the re-grind mills.

IGO also reported 132,495 ounces of gold production at the Tropicana joint venture in the June quarter, taking the yearly total at the site to 518,172 ounces.

This coincided with IGO, alongside its joint venture partner AngloGold Ashanti Australia, commencing the development of the Boston Shaker Underground. The firing of the first blast for the portal at Boston Shaker took place in May.

The mine has an estimated capital cost of $105 million with IGO’s share being $32 million, with expectations to mine approximately 1.1 million tonnes per annum of ore reserves.

It also has mineral resources at an estimated grade of 3.5 grams per tonne to produce 100,00 ounces of gold per annum over a seven-year period.

“At Tropicana, the AngloGold Ashanti team delivered another quarter of consistent production at high earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) and free cash flow margins, and also commenced development of the Boston Shaker underground,” Bradford said.

Across the rest of IGO’s portfolio, the company has made progress with its exploration activities and downstream nickel sulphate study.

Most notably, a picture emerged from the drilling of 3D seismic targets on the Nova mining lease that has “motivated an elevated commitment to mine lease exploration in the 2020 financial year,” according to Bradford.

“IGO enters financial year 2020 positioned to progress its strategy to become a globally relevant supplier of metals critical to energy storage and renewable energy,” he concluded.

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