Millennium dampens production target at Nullagine

The Nullagine project in the Pilbara. Image: Millennium Minerals

Millennium Minerals has updated its production guidance for the calendar year following a series of delays at its Nullagine operations in the Pilbara, Western Australia.

The company has experienced delays in receiving open pit mining approvals, the ramp up at Bartons underground and commissioning of the sulphide plant.

Millennium lowered its guidance accordingly from 80,000–90,000 ounces to 70,000–75,000 ounces for the year.

It couldn’t make up the production shortfalls incurred in previous quarters months, according to a Millennium statement.

Millennium managing director Warren Hallam said the updated guidance reflected a conservative approach to the mine plan, which was aimed at putting the Nullagine operation on a sustainable footing.

“Having now spent some time at site, I am encouraged by the strong fundamentals of the Nullagine project in terms of quality of the infrastructure, the people on site and the enormous exploration upside in the field,” he said.

Millennium’s mining schedule for the next six months will be predominantly based on ore feed from Golden Eagle, Bartons underground and either the Golden Gate or Camel Creek mining centres.

Bartons underground is in full production now, with the sulphide plant operating within design parameters thanks to the significant advancement of Nullagine’s “transformation” over the last six months.

The Stage 1a upgrade to the Nullagine processing plant is also complete and delivering improved ore recoveries as anticipated. The company has seen growing production from Bartons underground, with multiple stoping areas in operation.

Millennium expects Bartons underground to form a key long-term ore source for the company.

Hallam said with the advancement of the transformation of Nullagine over the last six months through the addition of Bartons underground and the sulphide plant, the first priority would be to optimise the existing production base and implement the outcomes of the strategic operational review.

This “has indicated that a quarterly production rate of around 20,000 ounces is the optimum operating level for the project – reduce the cost base and introduce a number of other operating efficiencies,” Hallam said.

Millennium’s cost-reducing measure includes switching to an owner-operator business model for open pit mining load and haul operations, which is expected to occur in October.

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