Canadian mining firm Nevsun Resources has unveiled its 2014 outlook for planned copper production from the Bisha mine in Eritrea.
The mine is operated by Nevsun’s 60%-owned subsidiary Bisha Mining Share Company (BMSC), which is planning to produce between 180 million to 200 million pounds of copper this year through processing about 2,100,000t of ore from the Bisha Main pit, averaging about a 4.6% copper feed grade.
Nevsun said that with such high-grade ore, the C1 cash cost of producing a tonne of concentrate will be in the lowest quartile worldwide.
The copper will be contained in about 280,000t of concentrate at around 30% copper grade, based on the mine plan.
Nevsun also said it has considerable additional value held in stockpiles to be monetised, which includes 6,500t of precious metals concentrate holding about 7,000oz of gold with a high silver content.
The company has also mined and stockpiled over 100,000t of oxide ore at over 6g per tonne of gold containing over 20,000oz of gold, and 200,000t of pyrite sand ore that contains around 55,000oz of gold with significant silver content.
Nevsun noted that it is exploring alternative methods and timing to best monetise the stockpiles.
The company is planning to announce revised estimates for mineral resources and reserves on the Bisha and Harena mining licenses.
Resources will also include the Northwest and the Hambok deposits, and the estimates will include results from the 2013 drilling campaign.
The company said it intends to expand its exploration efforts over the coming year with active drilling occurring in and around the Bisha mine, on the Harena mine license and on the Mogoraib River exploration license.
BMSC will advance its zinc expansion project through the year, with a planned start-up in 2015.
Nevsun Resources CEO Cliff Davis said that following the company’s transition to copper production in 2013, it looks forward to strong free cashflow and earnings from Bisha this year.
"For growth, we will continue to expand Bisha resources through generative exploration programmes in 2014 and to actively evaluate potential acquisition opportunities," Davis said.