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Copper production at Lumwana Mining Company in Solwezi, north-west Zambia has increased to 34,000 tonnes in this year’s third quarter despite the prices of the metal showing a significant drop from record highs during the quarter
According to results from the owner, Barrick Gold of Canada, the operation was about 54% of the mining giant’s total world copper production.
The world’s largest gold miner projects that Lumwana will produce another 34 000 tonnes in the closing quarter of the year despite part of the period being in the rainy season.
This was Barrick Gold’s first full quarter of production at the mine after taking over Lumwana Mine from Equinox in June this year.
“Lumwana Mine produced 75 million pounds (34 000 tonnes) at total cash costs of $2.13 per pound.
With copper prices expected to go up on global demand and a limited supply, Barrick Gold says it would improve performance by targeting mill debottlenecking, pit re-optimisation, changes to mine sequencing, dilution control, equipment availability to improve performance.
This would be in spite of the copper grades being lower primarily due to dilution, mill shutdown for maintenance in the fourth quarter, pushed ahead to the first quarter of next year, in addition to higher costs related to labour and power.
Exploration works at the mine are expected to continue with production levels of Lumwana Mine doubling once Chimiwungo mine starts copper production.
“Drilling at Chimiwungo East commenced in September and results received from initial drill holes are in line with expectations. In addition, Barrick is advancing an expansion study that could potentially double processing rates,”the statement said.
Overall, Barrick’s global third quarter profit jumped 45% on record gold prices that hit one new high after another during the quarter.
Net income for the quarter was $1.37bn, up from $942mn during the same period last year with revenue jumping 44 per cent to $4.01bn, from $2.79bn last year.