Productivity at Bisha Mine in Eritrea, which is owned by Nevsun Resources, will improve significantly, following the addition of a new floation plant.
The existing copper floatation operation will allow the mine to continue to produce both copper and zince for the remainder of the current nine-year primary reserve life.
Nevsun Resources initiated ore commissioning of the combined plant on June 6, 2016.
Shedding more light on the project, Cliff Davis, CEO: Nevsun, comments: “We are again very pleased with how the zinc plant expansion has progressed, on time and under budget. We look forward to reaching commercial production before the end of Q3. In the meantime, we will continue to accelerate the monetisation of the DSO high grade gold equivalent stock piles, to boost cash flow during 2016.”
The zinc expansion project will average over 100,000 tonnes of zinc and 20,000 tonnes of copper per year for the next nine years from mid-2016 and has excess capacity to absorb additional feed that might come from deposits without yet-to-be defined mineral reserves from Bisha deeps, Harena or Asheli.
The project included replacement of the copper regrind mills with a new, more efficient mill, identical to the one in the zinc plant. Wet commissioning tests, utilising air, water and slurry are now complete.
Bisha has started hot commissioning using lower quality boundary material ore to implement plant optimisation and ramp-up, and to generate combinations of various copper, zinc and bulk concentrates until transition to commercial production later, using primary ore. The commissioning process is anticipated to take no more than three months to complete.
Some relatively minor adjustments may need to be completed over the next few months as the plant is trialled, and final project costs will be reported in due course. The company currently estimates the cost to be less than $80m against a budget of $100m.