New Century drives up zinc production as prices rise

Overview of existing reserves and resources at the Century zinc mine. Image: New Century Resources

New Century Resources plans to boost zinc production performance at the Century mine in Queensland by 40 per cent.

The company is aiming to achieve consistent production performances of up to 12 million tonnes a year at 50–54 per cent recovery, which is up to a 40 per cent increase from the September quarterly average of around 10 million tonnes a year at 45 per cent recovery.

New Century managing director Patrick Walta said New Century would continue its focus on increasing metal production while lowering unit costs to drive growth in the December quarter and beyond.

“Macro-economic conditions for the industry continue to improve, providing strong tailwinds for New Century, with the zinc price rising above $US1.13 ($1.60) per pound for the first time since the onset of COVID-19,” Walta said.

“In addition, spot treatment charges have plummeted to $US110 per tonne, their lowest level since Century (zinc mine) operations restarted.”

The Century mine, which was shut three years ago for closure and has since been re-established as a top 10 global zinc producer, has experienced strong post-COVID-19 demand from China.

Walta said there was still further opportunity to come yet from improved zinc market conditions.

“The company sees opportunity for further improvement in the zinc price, with demand/consumption set to return in countries other than China as a result of infrastructure-focussed stimulus packages in response to the COVID-19 economic downturn,” he said.

New Century’s technical services team continued optimisation studies over its South Block, Silver King and East Fault Block deposits, with strong in-situ mine plans, metal production profiles and projected operation costs.

Once these studies are complete, the company will make a decision to mine in 2021, integrating the mineral resources of these deposits into its current life-of-mine production profile, providing the opportunity for an extended Century mine life.

During the September quarter, New Century also prepared for the upcoming wet season in north Queensland, introducing various new water pumping initiatives to ensure minimal downtime.

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