ASIAN Mineral Resources (AMR) continues its strong operational performance at the Ban Phuc Nickel-Copper Project in Vietnam with above guidance production and strong mill recoveries. The company says that strong operational performance continues to underpin the business during the extended low-pricing cycle.
During the quarter ending September 30 the operation in the country’s north had milled production of 2629 tonnes of nickel, 1109 tonnes of copper and 75 tonnes of cobalt metal in concentrate. There were 14,050 tonnes of dry concentrate sold.
Three product shipments were completed in the quarter, which was below expectation due to unplanned shipping delays to Tianjin port in China. The average realized nickel price for the quarter was US$4.40 per pound.
Mill recoveries exceeded targets at 87.7% nickel and 95.3% copper while C1 unit operating costs were below guidance at US$3.49 per pound of nickel, including royalties and export taxes.
During the quarter AMR achieved full repayment of the outstanding term loan facility of US$12 million and repayment of the US$2.7 million working capital facility.
CEO Evan Spencer said the sustained strong operational performance combined with the company’s ongoing stated objective to reduce costs enabled Ban Phuc Nickel Mines (BPNM), AMR’s Vietnamese subsidiary, to pay down US$14.7 million in debt during the quarter.
“The subsequent temporary delay in BPNM’s nickel concentrate shipments to Tianjin port has not impacted the operation. Shipments have re-commenced and we expect to return to our normal shipping schedule over the coming months.
“The short-term bridge facility provided by our major shareholder, Pala Investments, has enabled us to work though this delay in shipping in a controlled fashion.
“Exploration at our high priority King Snake prospect has provided exciting results. The structural re-interpretation combined with field mapping, geochemical sampling and surface EM work undertaken during the quarter has identified the potential for a mineralized system up to 1.2km in length at King Snake. The presence of a number of EM conductors at depth will enable detailed drill targeting to begin.
“The confirmation of mineralization at King Snake is a significant discovery and provides the opportunity for AMR to access additional mineralization from the existing mine infrastructure should economic quantities of mineralization be confirmed.”
King Snake is one of AMR’s high-priority exploration targets identified along the 2.8km Ban Khoa trend, which sits about 1km northeast of the existing Ban Phuc operations.