Water pipeline aids Aeris production

AFTER a tougher than expected December quarter, New South Wales-focused copper miner Aeris Resources opened its account for 2020 with a 12% recovery in production at 12% lower cash costs.
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Haydn Black


Despite having trimmed guidance last year, the miner produced 6083 tonnes copper-in-concentrate for the quarter at C1 cash costs of A$3.18 per pound, with a substantial fall in ore recovered, albeit at higher grade and steady milling rate.
All-in sustaining costs fell quarter-on-quarter from $4.40/lb to $3.79/lb.
Aeris attributed its improved production to mine sequencing targeting improved grades, and the impact both of water availability and quality on processing plant performance following commissioning of a new pipeline in February. 
The Tritton underground mine recovered 273,000t of ore, in line with plan but a 23,000t decrease compared to the previous quarter, however grade jumped 1.43% at 1.62%.
Murrawombie production fell from 129,000t to 99,000t, however grade was up 1.57% to 1.92%. The underground mine had to suspend production drilling on several occasions due to a shortage of good quality water, and it also suffered a shortage of skilled employees in mine development and maintenance. 
The mill processed 391,000t and recoveries of 93% were below plan, again largely blamed on the poor-quality water recovered from underground storage early in the quarter.
The miner is targeting financial 2020 production of 23,500t-24,500t at C1 costs of $2.80-2.95/lb.
It ended the quarter with cash and receivables falling to $13.3 million, down from $17 million.
Aeris shares were up 2% in early trade to 4.4c, with the company having traded between 2.9-12.5c over the past year.