TVI Pacific’s Philippine operating affiliate TVI Resource Development Philippines (TVIRD) has stopped milling operations at its Canatuan mine after having exhausted its remaining stockpile, pending the results of assessing various mine life extension and expansion opportunities. It is expected that at least one more shipment of copper concentrate will be scheduled.
Since completing construction in November 2008 of a sulphide production plant at Canatuan to process the underlying sulphide ore body containing copper and zinc, the company has completed 38 shipments of copper concentrate for a total volume of 195,660 dry metric tonnes (dmt) and 7 shipments of zinc concentrate for a total volume of 30,548 dmt, as compared to an initially anticipated 119,800 dmt of copper concentrate and 6100 dmt of zinc concentrate.
Reserves mined significantly exceeded initial reserves as a result of additional material found and mined. This material, consisting of banded sulphides with low-grade chlorite schists, was used in ore blending to optimize mill recoveries and was located both inside and outside the pit shell and not included in the original ore reserves.
The copper and zinc operations at the Canatuan mine have provided a 5.9 year mine life as compared to an initially anticipated 5 to 6 year mine life, but actual mill throughput has been much higher than planned. Actual daily mill throughput in recent months was increased to approximately 3500 tonnes.
The processing plant will be cleaned but equipment will not be dismantled while the company continues to assess mine life extension and expansion opportunities, including the possible processing of mineralized waste dump material, possible new discoveries from exploration drill targets outside of the pit area, possible production of pyrite concentrates, re-processing of tails and exploitation of possible economic deposits from outside the current MPSA (Malusok and SE Malusok). TVIRD is continuing to seek regulatory approval for expansion of the current MPSA to include these deposits.
On April 10, 2013 TVI filed an updated NI 43-101 technical report entitled Independent Report on the Nickel Laterite Resource - Agata North, Philippines. The updated NI 43-101 reflects an updated and reclassified resource estimate for the Agata North nickel laterite resource. The new resource provides a robust foundation for moving forward, initially, with a direct shipping ore operation of high-iron limonite (upper laterite horizon), followed by atmospheric leach processing of the underlying saprolite horizon.
The updated report shows an increase in measured and indicated resources to 33.9 million dmt @ 1.1% nickel as compared to the previous 31.8 million dmt @ 1.05% nickel. Inferred resources are 2.0 million dmt @ 1.04% nickel.