Frontier Mining has made small changes to the production process at its Benkala Copper Project. On the advice of consultant Adam Mooney, the leach pad stacking height of Pad 3 at Benkala is being raised from 2.5 to 3.5 metres.

Meanwhile, Benkala operational staff have started pouring sulphuric acid to Pad 3 and will monitor percolation as this has the potential to increase the amount of copper extraction from the ore without a significant effect on the overall production costs.

Frontier has also secured contracts for sulphuric acid delivery at less than 75% of pricing levels contracted in the past 12 months, which will reduce overall production costs.

“Frontier’s highest production cost is sulphuric acid, so this contract will boost Frontier’s efforts to achieve its targeted costs of US$3500/tonne copper,” according to resource company specialist RFC Ambrian. “This is only possible due to Frontier’s considerable investment in infrastructure.”

Frontier officials have also announced plans to add a second agglomeration unit while providing a reserve production line to ensure stable crushing and complex operation. Through studies, Kazakhstan’s VNIItsvetmet hydrometallurgical laboratory in Ust-Kamenogorsk is also carrying out analysis and test work using samples from Benkala.

Benkala is Frontier’s flagship project in the Urals copper-gold ore belt and the company is seeking to upgrade annual capacity from 7000 to 10,000 tonnes.

Expansion of the SX-EW plant continues to progress on schedule, Frontier says. The company is reviewing and analyzing the potential to run operations at the site year round and reach optimum levels of production.

“The company’s progress to date and its potential reserves across South Benkala and Baitemir provides significant confidence that the company can become an established premier copper producer in the region,” the company says.

Frontier boss Yerlan Aliyev has bought $19,000 in shares in a show of faith in the Kazakh copper miner’s prospects. He also owns 33% of Coville Intercorp, which holds 47% of Frontier’s shares. Yerlan Aliyev became chief executive and chairman of the AIM-listed company last December at a transitional point as it moved from explorer to copper producer.

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