Asian Mineral Resources (AMR) is continuing its strong operational performance at the Ban Phuc Nickel Project in northern Vietnam with above guidance production during the December quarter.

AMR produced 2097 tonnes of nickel metal, 956 tonnes of copper metal and 68 tonnes of cobalt metal in concentrate during the quarter. Processing recoveries continued to be a highlight in the quarter with further sustained improvement in nickel processing recoveries achieving 88.1%, above the design target of 85%, and copper recovery of 95.1%.

The company completed five product shipments, which was higher than planned due to the return to exporting of stockpiled concentrates due to the delays associated with shipments to Tianjin port in the previous quarter. A total of 29,873 tonnes of dry concentrate was shipped in the quarter and the average realized nickel price was US$4.02/pound (US$8859/tonne).

The C1 unit operating costs for the quarter was $4.79/pound nickel, including royalties and export taxes.

AMR’s CEO Evan Spencer said, “The high C1 costs were due to our annual end of year royalty and tax finalization reflected in December. AMR has focused on implementing cost reduction strategies and developing its ongoing operational plan for 2016. We must continue to expose ourselves to the low operational cost base of Vietnam.

“Low cost exploration activities, including Stream outcrop/trenching and adit mapping have continued at our second high priority target at Ban Chang, which ranks with Kingsnake as our two highest priority exploration targets.

“The ability to continue to develop our understanding and knowledge of the geology and mineralization of the region will place AMR in a strong position to rapidly add to our resource base. We are gaining a more complete understanding of this exciting and prospective geological region. We have 22 prospective targets and are continuing to identify previously unknown MSV gossans and outcrops.”

Cost saving initiatives beginning in the quarter included further reductions in manning, mining equipment and mining fleet. Throughout the year Ban Phuc focused on in-country sourcing and supply.

AMR is one of the few new sources of nickel sulphide supply globally. It commenced commercial production from its Ban Phuc mine in mid-2013. The project currently produces more than 6900 tonnes of nickel and 3500 tonnes of copper per annum contained in concentrate, plus a cobalt by-product.

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