Western Areas tempers guidance after slow first half

Western Areas has revised its production guidance after the Flying Fox zone at the Forrestania nickel project in Western Australia was affected by resequencing last year.

The company reported a decrease of 6 per cent in its nickel production target to 16,000-17,000 tonnes, while an increase in ore being mined from lower grade zones took its place.

The deferred nickel will now be mined in the 2022 financial year, with Western Areas managing director Dan Lougher remaining positive about the company’s near-term prospects.

“The Forrestania nickel operation has encountered operational challenges during the half that negatively impacted the average grade of ore mined for the period and resulted in lower production and sales volumes,” Lougher said.

“Forrestania’s performance is already demonstrating improvement early in the second half of (the 2021 fiscal year), and fortunately the higher-grade material we were originally scheduled to access this year will still be accessed in later periods.”

In better news for the company, the long-life Odysseus project saw important shaft haulage equipment delivered, while surface civil works have allowed for the construction of a new ore haulage shaft headframe and winder.

Lougher was positive about the progress at Odysseus.

“The Odysseus underground mine development is progressing well with excellent advance rates being achieved,” he said.

“It is exciting to own the long-life Odysseus project, providing Western Areas a clear nickel mining plan into the 2030s and beyond.”

Earlier in the year, Western areas stated the nickel market was looking promising.

“Western Areas continues to believe that nickel rich battery technology will play a large role in EV batteries, which provides significant encouragement for nickel’s long-term demand outlook,” the company stated.

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