Open pit production at Turquoise Hill Resources’ Oyu Tolgoi Copper-Gold-Silver Project in Mongolia’s South Gobi region is on target to meet the 2016 production guidance of 175,000 to 195,000 tonnes of copper in concentrates and 255,000 to 285,000 ounces of gold.
The project is operated by Oyu Tolgoi LLC, which is 66% owned by Turquoise Hill with the Mongolian Government holding the remainder. Turquoise Hill is majority owned by Rio Tinto.
Turquoise Hill’s chief executive officer Jeff Tygesen said, “Oyu Tolgoi’s second quarter production was as planned reflecting reduced mining in Phase 2 of the open pit, which included higher grades of both copper and gold. In the second half of 2016, lower gold production is expected as mining occurs in areas with reduced grades.
“The concentrator continues to perform well with throughput exceeding nameplate capacity.”
In the June quarter concentrator throughput was broadly consistent with the previous quarter, resulting in average daily throughput of approximately 105,000 tonnes for the quarter.
Copper production in the quarter declined 10.3% over the March quarter reflecting lower grades from reduced mining in Phase 2 and lower recovery from Phase 6 ore.
As expected, gold production in the second quarter declined approximately 52% over the first quarter due to lower grades from reduced mining in Phase 2. Concentrate sold in quarter two increased 6.7% over quarter one.
Open pit material mined during the quarter was steady at 22.716 million tonnes while ore treated was also steady at 9.525 million tonnes. Average mill head grades were 0.64% copper, 0.33 grams/tonne (g/t) gold and 1.92 g/t silver compared to 0.70%, 0.63 g/t and 1.92 g/t in the previous quarter.
This resulted in production of 517,000 tonnes of copper, down from 576,000 tonnes in the March quarter; 70,000 ounces of gold, down from 144,000 ounces; and 391,000 ounces of silver, down from 395,000 ounces.
During the June quarter the company sold 544,000 tonnes of copper in concentrates, 95,000 ounces of gold and 395,000 ounces of silver, compared to 512,000 tonnes, 175,000 ounces and 305,000 ounces in the March quarter.