WITH the Wetar Copper Project expected to reach full production capacity by the end of 2016, Finders Resources plans to continue exploring at and near-mine targets in a bid to identify further copper. In this regard it will use the A$12 million raised in a well-supported placement to advance the project and carry out exploration.

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The new electrowinning (EW) plant at Finders Resources’ Wetar Copper Project on Wetar Island.

Plans include drilling out the existing resources at Lerokis deposit and an identified target at nearby Meron. The company also plans the development of other targets on Wetar Island, including Karkopang, Kali Basar and Baru Manu with the aim of increasing mine life.

Funds will also be used to conduct a feasibility assessment of an acid plant, and gold and silver production in the baryte sands and in massive sulphide ore.

Finders also intends to increase its interest in the project from 72% and to restructure the existing project debt facility to reflect the closure of hedges and revised cash flows for the project after attaining steady state production levels, including prepayment of some of the project debt facility.

By mid-October the new SX-EW plant had plated over 4800 tonnes of copper cathode with the production ramp up reaching the plant’s annual nameplate capacity of 25,000 tonnes of copper cathode on a number of days.

At the time Finders said the plant ramp-up had progressed past the usual fine tuning stages involving equipment performance, reagents addition and power variations. “It was pleasing that during this phase all copper cathode was able to be sold at or about LME copper price including a proportion as LME grade A with premium. A majority of the copper cathode now produced is LME Grade A and this will continue to improve as the plant approaches steady state operation.”

In December Finders released a mineral resource and ore reserve update for the project which showed that measured, indicated and inferred resources at June 30 stood at 8.9 million tonnes @ 2.4% copper for 210,000 contained tonnes of copper metal. The proven and probable reserve was 8.6 million tonnes @ 2.3% for 202,000 contained tonnes.

Finders said that a 2% overcall in reconciled copper tonnes mined versus the ore reserve model for the project to the end of November 2016 demonstrated the robustness of the resource and reserve estimates.

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