AERIS Resources is constructing a new ventilation shaft at the Tritton Copper Project in western New South Wales. The shaft will support operations as they progress deeper, following the ore body and will enable the Tritton Deeps project to be developed, prolonging mine life.

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Ore is transported to the processing facilities at Aeris Resources’ Tritton Copper Project.

When completed, the shaft will extend from surface to the existing RL4385m exploration drive, a total of 880 metres, representing a total capital investment of more than $11 million. The shaft is targeted to be operational at the end of the March quarter.

Aeris says the project is progressing well despite some technical issues. Power outages have disrupted progress and a back-up diesel power pack was mobilised to site. The pilot hole encountered an open fault at 800 metres depth that stopped drilling progress due to loss of water returns. Breakthrough of the pilot hole to the mine was expected in October.

Copper production at Tritton for the September quarter was 6380 tonnes, lower than the previous quarter’s 7098 tonnes. During the quarter, the underground mine transitioned to multi-lift stopes. Mining production and grade were negatively impacted by oversize rocks in stopes, which slowed down extraction of broken ore and impacted dilution.

The North East mine closed with last ore was extracted in September. The Murrawombie underground mine development continues with production expected to ramp-up during FY2017. During the September quarter electrical power, main ventilation and pumping infrastructure were installed and operating. Stope mining of the minor lodes in the upper part of the mine had commenced to provide ore production while the decline has advanced down to the main ore body.

Production from the minor lodes in the upper part of the mine is expected to be variable due to the partially oxidised rock mass near surface. Priority is given to advance of the capital access decline to allow future bottom up mining of these lodes. The company’s copper production guidance for FY2017 is 28,000 tonnes.

Aeris is ramping-up greenfields exploration on its tenement package and plans to spend $7.5 million over the next two years. A high power electromagnetic geophysical survey over the Tritton and Kurrajong corridors began in the December quarter and is expected to continue through to June 2017. Extensive electromagnetic surveys completed within the tenement package in the mid-1990s led to discovery of the Tritton deposit.

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