In the first six months of 2017 Central Asia Metals produced 7027 tonnes of copper from its Kounrad project in Kazakhstan, which was 2% higher than production in the same period of 2016. During the June quarter the dump leach, solvent extraction and electro-winning (SX-EW) copper recovery plant produced 3670 tonnes.

Copper cathode sales in the first half of the year amounted to 6870 tonnes, 8% higher than the 6355 tonnes sold during the first half of 2016. The copper was sold predominantly through the company’s offtake partner, Traxys.

In its half yearly operations update, Central Asia Metals said that in April it began irrigating the Western Dumps and during the quarter approximately 1300 tonnes of copper cathode had been recovered.

Meantime, together with partners, Aksu-Esil, Central Asia has been undertaking geological mapping at the Shuak copper exploration project in Kazakhstan’s north. The update stated that the company was nearing completion of a TEM-FAST geophysics program designed primarily to ascertain the depth and extent of the saprolite weathering horizon.

It said a diamond drilling program of approximately 4700 metres had recently commenced, together with an initial 7000 metre core hydrotransport (CHT) drilling campaign.

Priority areas for both work programs are Mongol V and Mongol North. In total, 22,000 metres of drilling are planned for 2017.

In November 2016 the company announced that it had signed a framework agreement to acquire an 80% effective interest in the Shuak property, which is approximately 300km north of the capital Astana and 40km northeast of the regional centre Stepnogorsk.

The licence area is 197sqkm and contains three target areas that warrant immediate and detailed exploration for copper and gold.

Central Asia’s executive chairman Nick Clarke said, “We are pleased that our H1 2017 production is broadly in line with that of 2016. This ensures that we are on course to achieve our full year production guidance of between 13,000 tonnes and 14,000 tonnes of copper cathode.

“Q2 2017 has been an important period for us at Kounrad as we commenced production at the Western Dumps and we are pleased to report that copper recovery is in line with our expectations.

“We have also begun drilling and undertaking a wider exploration program at Shuak, and look forward to reporting exploration results in due course.”

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