Central Asia Metals produced 3207 tonnes of copper in the March quarter from the Kounrad project in Kazakhstan, which was 36.5% more than the corresponding quarter of 2015.

The company sold 2550 tonnes during the quarter, up from 2233 tonnes, and is on track to achieve 2016 production guidance of between 13,000 and 14,000 tonnes from the dump leach, solvent extraction and electro-winning (SX-EW) copper recovery plant.

The quarterly production increase is due in part to mild winter conditions and the completion of the stage 1 expansion of the SX-EW plant, which Central Asia Metals delivered on schedule and below budget in quarter two of 2015.

In March this year the AIM-listed company commenced groundworks on the stage 2 expansion, which will enable the company to leach copper from the larger resource within the Western Dumps. The 12km 10kv overhead power line and substation are complete, and a significant portion of all process equipment and pipes has been delivered to site. The company is on schedule to achieve first production from the Western Dumps in the first half of 2017 and the estimated capital expenditure remains at US$19.5 million.

Following the two-phase expansion program, the Kounrad project is slated to continue production at an annual average of 200,000 tonnes until 2030.