The recently commissioned processing facilities at Griffin Mining’s Caijiaying Zinc-Gold Mine are expected to reach the expanded annual name plate capacity throughput of 1.5 million tonnes of ore by the end of this month. This capacity has not been possible until delivery of a new 750,000 tonne ball mill and the connection of additional grid power.

Griffin continues to experience bureaucratic delays in the granting of a new mining licence and permits for the Zone III deeps and Zone II areas at Caijiaying and continues to actively manage the administrative process involved in the granting of these licences.

The UK-listed company’s production and financial results for 2014 were significantly impacted by a suspension in processing to allow for the upgrade from August 11 to November 17 and the subsequent re-commissioning of the plant, a process which took six weeks longer to complete than originally envisioned.

Production in 2014 saw 747,775 tonnes of ore were mined, compared to 877,803 tonnes in 2013 with 572,390 tonnes of ore processed, compared to 838,431 tonnes in 2013. There was 25,901 tonnes of zinc metal in concentrate produced, compared to 39,724 tonnes in 2013; 7623 ounces of gold in concentrate produced, compared to 11,468 ounces; 201,982 ounces of silver in concentrate produced, compared to 323,808 ounces; and 857 tonnes of lead in concentrate produced, compared to 1551 tonnes in 2013.

The average price per tonne of zinc metal in concentrate received in 2014 rose by 3.3% to $1345 (2013 $1302), silver rose 1.8% to $17.1 per ounce (2013 $16.8), gold by 1.5% to $1251 per ounce (2013 $1233) and lead fell 2.3% to $1595 per tonne (2013 $1633).

With the use of lower grade ores during re-commissioning of the processing plant, the base and precious metal grades of the ore processed were slightly down on 2014 resulting in a minor fall in the recovery of base metals, whilst improvements were made in gold recoveries.

Griffin’s chairman Mladen Ninkov said: “The additional time taken to complete the expansion of the processing facilities at Caijiaying will inevitably cause disappointing financial results in 2014. However, the price has been worth paying to position the company to be a globally significant zinc producer with substantial precious metal credits with the expected and much discussed global shortfall in zinc supply expected in 2015 and beyond. It is with this expectation that shareholders should reap the benefits of their patience.”

Last week Griffin reported the death of an employee of the mining contractor while working underground at Caijiaying. As a result, mining operations were temporarily suspended pending an investigation by both the company and Chinese authorities into the circumstances causing this death.

In a statement Griffin said: “Needless to say, the safety of the Caijiaying mine site is a priority for all parties concerned. In the interim, the company’s thoughts and concerns rest with the deceased and their families.”

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