Oz Minerals increases focus on copper expansion

Image: Oz Minerals

Oz Minerals has lifted its copper production target for the next two years as the company’s focus continues to shift towards the base metal ahead of gold.

The Adelaide-based company today reported that copper production for the December quarter reached 29,758 tonnes, giving it 116,882 tonnes for 2016. Oz Minerals’ copper target for the year was between 115,000-125,000 tonnes.

Oz Minerals chief executive Andrew Coles said guidance was achieved despite the loss of production during South Australia’s state-wide power outage during the three-month period.

“Prominent Hill demonstrated its operating discipline delivering on copper guidance in the face of a major state-wide power outage which resulted in 15 days of lost production during the second half of 2016,” Cole said.

“Copper guidance provided last year is confirmed for 2017 and production estimates have been lifted by a total of 30,000 tonnes through to 2019. Gold production guidance has been lowered as we prioritise copper given its stronger margins.”

Oz Minerals’ copper guidance for 2017 is set at 105,000-115,000 tonnes, while in 2018 and 2019 it is targeting 90,000-100,000 tonnes.

The company produced 32,205 ounces of gold during the December quarter to reach 118,333 ounces for 2016. It is targeting 115,000-125,000 ounces in 2017, and 120,000-130,000 ounces in 2018 and 2019.

Cole also highlighted Oz Minerals’ pipeline of growth projects, which developed further during the quarter.

“Prominent Hill mine life has been extended following a 40 per cent increase in underground ore reserve, confirming it as a long life asset,” he explained.

“In Carrapateena we have one of the few proposed new copper mine globally with work starting on the access decline at the end of September 2016 and proceeding to plan.”

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