The ramp-up of the new copper cathode SX-EW plant at Finders Resources Wetar Copper Project in Indonesia continues with the plant having reached annual nameplate capacity of 25,000 tonnes on a number of days. As at October 18 the plant had plated more than 4800 tonnes of copper cathode.

Operational staff members expect to achieve a steady state production rate in the coming weeks.

Plant ramp up has progressed past the usual fine tuning stages involving equipment performance, reagents addition and power variations. The company says 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.

Cathode daily production levels have been steadily increasing to be now regularly within 10% of full production. Parts of the SX-EW plant have at times achieved and even exceeded their required operating parameters. During the coming weeks it is anticipated that this will occur more regularly until full production is achieved.

Finders expects that the Wetar project will be operating at full capacity by the end of the year at which time there will be more visibility on the actual financial metrics of the project including production costs.

Ore mining continues to perform as expected with a change to an emulsion blasting product delivering improved fragmentation which in turn has had a positive effect on the crush and stack rate from the crushing circuits.

The neutralisation plant is being run on a campaign basis, as required by the build-up of acid levels in the circuit.

Finders’ managing director Barry Cahill said, “It has been a very pleasing effort from site management now commencing to achieve nameplate production from the 25,000 tonne SX-EW plant. There will be further positive news in the coming weeks as production is stabilised, completing the transformation of Finders to a significant and profitable copper cathode producer.”

The project is in Maluku Barat Daya and comprises the development, open pit mining and processing of the high-grade sulphide deposits at Kali Kuning and Lerokis, within 3km of the coast on Wetar Island.

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