Trevali Mining announces that effective as of July 1, 2016 it has achieved commercial production at its Caribou Zinc Mine in the Bathurst Mining Camp of northern New Brunswick.
Following a successful commissioning period, Caribou is now operating consistently in a manner intended by the Company and as demonstrated in the June results with mill and underground operations delivering the strongest monthly performance to date with record mine and mill tonnage and throughput, zinc recoveries and concentrate production.
"Declaring Commercial Production at Caribou represents a major milestone for Trevali’s second operating zinc mine and strengthens the Company’s position as the only current primary zinc producer on the TSX poised to benefit from the forecast zinc commodity price rally," states Dr. Mark Cruise, Trevali’s President and CEO.
"This achievement, during a time of challenging market conditions, is a testament to the professionalism, dedication, attitude and hard work of our Caribou team including our valued contractors and partners. Based on our experience at the Santander mine, I remain extremely confident ongoing optimizations at Caribou will continue to build upon these foundations during the remainder of 2016, exemplified by Caribou zinc recoveries in early July already averaging 82%."
With the achievement of this key milestone, Trevali will continue to implement its business initiatives in order to continue to optimize operations and ramp-up production at the Caribou Zinc Mine to further boost efficiencies, recovery rates and ultimately metal concentrate production.
The Company continues to focus on highlighted areas for metallurgical improvement with modifications to be implemented during ongoing scheduled maintenance periods. Modifications completed during June and which are ongoing include:
Increase in the number of sample stations for the on-stream sample analyzer — in progress.
SAG mill modifications, installation of newly designed lifters and shell liners — in progress and will continue during scheduled shut downs throughout the summer period.
Pumping infrastructure including capacity and electrical upgrades are in progress. Approximately 55% of pumps are either changed and/or upgraded with the remaining works to be completed during the summer period. The upgrades are designed to result in improved circuit stability (and consequently recoveries) when handling the finely-ground process feed.
Trial of Zn and Pb circuit modifications to recycle cleaner streams to feed streams to potentially boost recoveries — in progress.
Plant water chemistry investigations — in progress.
Cu circuit test work using plant feed is ongoing with additional work to be implemented following final upgrades and improvements to both the Zn and Pb circuits.
With the zinc circuit essentially de-risked, site continues to focus on underground operations in particular de-bottlenecking initiatives. Work is ongoing, however June successfully delivered the largest amount of stope tonnes to the mill to date with monthly production increasing to an average of 2,423-tpd. From July onwards mining will start reintroducing development feed tonnage, which in conjunction with other planned improvements, is anticipated to further boost production rates upwards of 2,700-tpd.
Geologically, year-to-date reconciliation to the block model is very high at 97% correlation and dilution remains below design levels resulting in underground delivering increased metal units to the mill. A 10,000-metre resource conversation drill program is in progress and will be ongoing to year-end. Mineralization remains open for expansion at depth and to the NW, and the Company classifies the exploration potential as good to excellent.
Caribou production guidance (July 1-December 31, 2016) in payable metals is approximately:
Zinc — 37-41 million pounds
Lead — 14-15 million pounds
Silver — 380,000 to 420,000 ounces
Head grades are anticipated to range from 5.9-6.2% Zn, 2.5-2.7% Pb and 65-70 grams/tonne Ag.