OZ Minerals has reported strong production results for the March quarter despite COVID-19’s impact on the resources industry.
All operations for the company have remained in line with its 2020 production guidance.
OZ Minerals delivered successful results for both its copper and gold production rates at the Prominent Hill copper-gold mine in South Australia.
The March quarter saw 15,580 tonnes of copper mined at Prominent Hill, while gold production reached 49,049 ounces at a negative C1 cost and the company recording its highest monthly underground haulage volumes last month.
OZ Minerals reported that the plant ramp up at the Carrapateena copper-gold mine in South Australia was also ahead of schedule while it moved to a South Australian-based workforce alongside Prominent Hill due to COVID-19.
The Carrapateena plant will be “tested and optimised” through the first half of 2020 after it produced the first copper concentrate in December last year.
OZ Minerals achieved a 12,000 tonne per day capacity at Carrapateena in March, producing 2495 tonnes of copper and 5041 ounces of gold.
The company expects Carrapateena’s production to increase to 4.25 million tonnes per annum run rates by the end of 2020, with the mine’s 2020 financial year guidance sitting at 20,000–25,000 tonnes of copper and 35,000–40,000 ounces of gold.
According to OZ Minerals managing director and chief executive Andrew Cole, the company has kept itself on track with minimal impacts to its operations from the pandemic.
“Despite the COVID-19 pandemic constraints and response to protect the health of our employees, other stakeholders and business generally, the operations delivered a strong opening to 2020 with only critical frontline roles on site in the latter half of the quarter,” he said.
“The company has in place a comprehensive management plan to protect the health and safety of our people and other stakeholders, including the early introduction of travel restrictions, improved hygiene measures and social distancing initiatives.”
Cole said a change to production guidance might happen if further COVID-19 impacts occur.
“We have, however, planned for a range of potential worsening scenarios, some of which may necessitate a future change to guidance if production is impacted and costs or capital are further reduced,” he said.
“We are also working on a post COVID-19 recovery plan to ensure the company is able to accelerate out of the crisis. Our scenario planning seeks to preserve jobs with redeployment across the organisation wherever possible.”
The company’s Carajás Hub strategy in Brazil also saw a significant progress to its development during the March quarter.
OZ Minerals has strengthened its financial position during the COVID-19 outbreak with its revolving credit facility extended to $480 million to provide a “liquidity buffer” if required.