New Century Resources (ASX: NCZ) has posted record quarterly zinc production and a significant increase in metallurgical recovery from its namesake zinc mine in Queensland’s Gulf of Carpentaria.
The company, which has ambitions to become the world’s fourth largest zinc operator, announced a 50% increase in quarterly zinc production from the Century mine, with production totalling 18,170 tonnes for the March 2019 quarter.
During the quarter, the company continued the successful ramp up of plant performance, which resulted in the record production.
In total, 37,500t of concentrate was produced throughout the three-month period grading 48.3% zinc. Silver content of 152 grams per tonne within the concentrate remained in line with previous quarter operations.
Throughout the quarter, New Century achieved a significant increase in total zinc recovery, with operations averaging 50% recovery, equating to 86% of the design target.
In addition, the quality of zinc concentrate produced continued to improve, with a 25% decrease in the lead impurity content compared to the prior quarter at 5.6% lead.
Production ramp up
New Century is focused on ramping up production of its flagship Century mine after re-opening the operation last September.
The Century mine was once the world’s third largest zinc mine before it was mothballed in 2016 by previous owners MMG (ASX: MMG) due to low prices and depleted reserves.
New Century is targeting a ramp of mining up to 15 million tonnes per annum by the end of 2019 through the implementation of five cannons and continued progression toward the remainder of nameplate recovery during Q2 2019.
Post March quarter, New Century completed the installation of a third mining cannon and pumping system, resulting in ability for the operations to target ramp up to a mining rate consistently above 8Mtpa, and up to 10Mtpa during the current quarter.
The company is exporting zinc concentrate from the Queensland operation to smelters in China, Europe and across Australia.
To date, 70,000t of zinc concentrate has been produced in just two quarters of operation, with 61,000t shipped.
The company also believes there are opportunities for the identification of further zinc resources, with New Century targeting a drill program to the north of the original Century open-pit in 2019.
In parallel with this, the company is nearing the completion of a pre-feasibility study which is examining the viability of extending the operation’s mine life.
Shareholders responded positively to today’s news, sending New Century’s shares up 10.6% to $0.907 in late morning trade.