Central Asia Metals has been given the green light by authorities in Kazakhstan to begin an expansion project at its Kounrad copper recovery project. The approval allows the company to exploit the copper contained in the Western dumps.

Sourcing of materials and equipment for stage two is now in train, with the program’s capital cost remaining within Central Asia’s US$19.5 million estimate.

Central Asia’s CEO Nick Clarke said, “Whilst a formality, this State approval offers a clear indication of the Kazakhstan government’s readiness to support foreign investors, and it enables Central Asia Metals to fully commit to the second phase of the Kounrad project’s expansion.”

In October Nick Clarke noted that since its float in 2010, Central Asia had raised US$60 million, had constructed the Kounrad plant on time and under budget, and produced more than 36,600 tonnes of copper at an average C1 cost of $0.72 per pound.

The company has increased production volumes in the second half of 2015 and produced 1285 tonnes of copper in October, beating the monthly record set in the previous month.

“This increase, together with an approximate 65% devaluation of the Kazakhstan Tenge against the US Dollar, results in downward pressure on the unit cost of production,” the company said in a statement.

The company recently reaffirmed its 2015 production guidance of 12,000 tonnes of copper despite reduced output during the quarter ending September 30. An operational incident in June affected third quarter output but this has been rectified, enabling new monthly records to be set.

The incident saw a temporary problem with the solvent extraction process, which saw a significant quantity of material to be processed lost to the dumps. In the third quarter 2966 tonnes of the metal were produced compared to 3337 tonnes in the same period of 2014. Total 2015 output to the end of September was 8410 tonnes.

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