Canada-based Nevsun Resources has sold and shipped the first zinc concentrate product from its Bisha mine in Eritrea, East Africa.
Nevsun loaded a 10,000t lot at the Port of Massawa and sold the concentrate on the spot market.
Zinc flotation plant expansion at the Bisha mine was completed earlier this year.
The company noted that the plant will allow the mine to produce separate copper and zinc concentrates simultaneously from processing primary ore from the Bisha open-pit mine.
Nevsun Resources CEO Cliff Davis said: “We are pleased to have a high-quality zinc product coming to market in an environment of rising zinc prices.
“Bisha is the only significant new zinc concentrate coming to market in 2016 and we are being aggressively courted for offtake by various customers.
“We would like to congratulate our partner, the State of Eritrea, for adding another export product to the economy and thank them for their support.”
The company plans to load additional shipments soon and is in the process of ramping up to commercial production, which is forecast for the fourth quarter of this year.
Nevsun owns 60% of the Bisha mine, which has nine years of reserve life and generates revenue from both copper and zinc concentrates containing gold and silver by-products.
The State of Eritrea owns a 40% stake in the mine through the Eritrean National Mining Company (ENAMCO), with 30% of this bought from Nevsun before initial construction.