Finders Resources is making excellent progress with earthworks for the copper cathode SX-EW expansion project at the Wetar project on Wetar Island. The project will increase annual production from 3000 to 25,000 tonnes.

Critical earthwork structures have been the focus of work to date and with productivity having been very good, progress remains on schedule. Of particular important is the new plant site which has been completed and is undergoing pre-loading in preparation for the commencement of construction.

Earthmoving equipment in the Kali Kuning Valley (KKV) is now working on Stormwater Pond 3 construction with fill material from excavation activities being placed in the area of the KKV heap leach pads. The first blast has been undertaken in the KKV on the east wall of the third pond. Prior to this blast material has been ripped and excavated which has assisted productivity from the earthmoving fleet.

Construction has started at the Intermediate Leach Solution (ILS) Pond and prior to this drainage around the area and nearby roads was upgraded, with the forming of drains and a culvert under the main access road to direct clean storm water away from the construction area. At the ILS site clearing and topsoil stripping and the underdrainage construction has been completed. Placement of fill material to build the dam wall is ongoing.

Earthworks continued to progress during the start of the wet season in December when the site received more than 215mm of rain. Site rainfall is generally between 1500 and 1700mm during the December to April period.

Finders’ managing director Barry Cahill says, “We are very pleased with earthmoving progress. With the plant site now complete and progress on other critical stages moving ahead in line with expectations, the project construction continues to perform well despite the commencement of the wet season.”

The bankable feasibility study for the Wetar project showed a US$132.4 million capital cost and first quartile operating costs of US$0.88 per pound copper. Finders’ 3000 tonne/annum SX-EW plant is producing copper cathode and the new 25,000 tonne plant is expected to be online at the end of 2015.