New Century Resources reports an increase in an overall zinc metal output and operational ramp up during the June quarter of 2019.

The Company has stated that its overall zinc metal output increased by 12 per cent during the June quarter, with 20,450 tonnes of zinc metal produced in 42,500 tonnes of concentrate grading 48.1 per cent zinc in comparison to 37,500 tonnes at 48.3 per cent zinc during the March quarter.

Silver content of 150g/t in concentrate remained in line with previous quarter operations.

Early April operations achieved up to 55 per cent recovery at a 6Mtpa mining rate (two cannons online), improving on the 50 per cent average achieved for the month of March. However, overall quarterly recovery performance was hampered in late April and May by instability during commissioning of throughput expansion under three cannon operations (6Mtpa to 8Mtpa) and identification of a bottleneck through cleaner 2A. Importantly, the operations achieved a strong exit rate to the quarter, with the recovery growth trend re-established during June and results up to 48 per cent recovery achieved in July to date.

“Cleaner 2B is scheduled to be online in early August, removing the identified bottleneck and allowing further recovery improvement for 8-9Mtpa operations,” said New Century is a statement.

“Further, the remainder of the cleaner circuit (cleaners 3B and 4B) will also be brought online in August, allowing for expansion and efficient operations at 12Mtpa throughput. A total of 44 per cent additional cleaner capacity is scheduled to come online as part of the continued plant refurbishment process.”

Century concentrate continues to deliver low levels of typical penalty elements common in other zinc concentrates such as iron, manganese, cadmium, mercury and arsenic.

Century also remains a low jarosite forming zinc concentrate (jarosite formation during smelting being a major component of recent environmental restrictions placed on Chinese zinc smelters).

New Century is targeting continued plant refurbishment (currently 55 per cent online) and expansion to full plant capacity during FY20, providing the ability progress to 12Mtpa operations in line with additional hydraulic mining throughput.

The Company states that expansion to three hydraulic mining cannons was the main focus of June quarter ramp up activities, with the third cannon and associated infrastructure commissioned and operational from May.

The overall average mining rate increased 15 per cent quarter-on-quarter (1.60Mt June Q vs 1.39Mt March Q).

Average mined grade during the quarter was 2.92 per cent zinc, which continues to reconcile strongly with the Ore Reserve model and mine plan. The operations are now achieving approximately 8Mtpa throughput, representing achievement of the Phase 1 mining rate target.

The Company aims to fund the expansion to 12Mtpa (AU$40M) out of existing cash reserves, an undrawn conditional debt facility and cashflow from operations.