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OZ expectations not dampened by floods, COVID

OZ

OZ Minerals has high hopes for 2022, with growth projects on the table and issues with inclement weather and COVID absenteeism easing.

The company exceeded 30,000 tonnes of copper production and almost 49,000 ounces of gold production for the March quarter of 2022, with production and cost targets on track for the 2022 financial year.

OZ managing director and chief executive officer Andrew Cole said the company hung its hopes on these results continuing on the back of clean energy demands.

“The market outlook remains strong for renewable minerals like copper and nickel, with copper being a commodity with strong fundamentals underpinning economic growth and human development,” Cole said.

“Our focus for 2022 remains on safely delivering our operations targets, advancing our current growth projects and adding new growth options to the portfolio while we continue to strengthen and enable our unique company culture where people want to work with us to do the best work of their lives.”

This positivity came despite a number of industry-wide issues with COVID and flooding affecting OZ’s production.

“The first quarter, as previously flagged, saw a softer start ot the year with elevated COVID related workforce and supply challenges as we transition to living with COVID across Australia,” Cole continued.

“Out South Australian assets were also impacted by a rainfall event in January resulting in highway and rail closures and subsequent supply disruption, in particular at Prominent Hill which had no site access via road for about three days and limited access for 12 days.”

The combined interruption of these events was around 370,000 tonnes of ore mined between Carrapateena and Prominent Hill mines.

OZ Minerals is still targeting total copper production of 127,000–149,000 tonnes in FY22, with 30,715–42,715 tonnes expected in the June quarter.

Gold production is expected to be between 208,000–230,000 ounces for FY22, leaving 34,989–56,989 to be produced this quarter.

These targets were made under the assumption that conditions become easier not harder, according to Cole.

“Despite the slower start to the year, group production and costs guidance remain on track for 2022 with a stronger operational performance expected over the balance of the year as COVID diminishes in the community,” he said.

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