NQ Minerals plc (AQSE:NQMI, OTCQB:NQMLF, OTCQB:NQMIY) has announced that plant production at its flagship Hellyer Gold Mine in Tasmania, Australia, has now been successfully increased by 44% to over 1.3 million tonnes per annum (1.2Mtpa at 92% plant availability), compared to 2019’s full year plant production numbers.
The new production rate of 150 tonnes per hour (1.314Mtpa) is now being achieved after a June plant upgrade and circuit optimisation exercise. This new rate compares to 2019 Hellyer Full Year plant throughput totalling 835,877 tonnes (average 103 tph at 92% plant availability).
Process optimisation works are now underway to ensure that the plant achieves maximum recoveries and concentrate specifications at these new higher production rates.
Engineering assessments will continue to plan for further production rate increases later in the year, should higher production rates be required.
David Lenigas, Chairman of NQ Minerals Plc, said, “This Hellyer plant upgrade exercise has been successfully brought in some 6 months ahead of expectation. The increase in saleable mine product will have a very positive affect on the Company’s top and bottom line revenues going forward, and will assist NQ greatly with its ability to service ongoing debt obligations and strongly position the mine for increased profitability as commodity prices improve with the world emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
About the Hellyer Gold Mine
Hellyer is NQ Mineral’s flagship mining operation.
The world class Hellyer underground mine, on the West Coast of Tasmania, in Australia, began production in 1989 under the ownership of Aberfoyle Limited. The Hellyer deposit had a published pre-mining Mineral Resource of 16.9Mt grading 13.8% zinc, 7.2% lead, 0.4% copper, 167g/t silver and 2.5g/t gold. The deposit was mined between 1986 and 2000 as a large-scale underground mine, with production peaking at around 1.5Mtpa with ore treated at the onsite Hellyer flotation concentrator plant. Lead and Zinc concentrates were taken to nearby Burnie Port for global shipment. Operations ceased by Aberfoyle/Western Metals at the Hellyer Mine in 2000, when economically available ore at the site became exhausted.
Hellyer has a published JORC compliant Mineral Resource estimated at 9.25Mt which is host to Gold at 2.57 g/t Au for 764,300 oz gold, Silver at 92 g/t Ag for 27,360,300 oz silver, Lead at 2.99% Pb for 276,600 tonnes of lead and Zinc at 2.57% Zn for 217,400 tonnes of zinc.
NQ Minerals purchased the Hellyer operations in 2017, and as Phase 1 of its Hellyer operational plan, NQ re-opened Hellyer in late 2018 with a tailing retreatment operation designed to last for at least 10 years. Production will initially focus on lead and zinc recovery from the reserves with significant gold and silver credits payable. Phase 2 of Hellyer’s re-opening plan is to re-open the rich underground mine, which has 1.175 million tonnes of underground JORC Resources grading 8.6% Zinc, 4.9% Lead, 96 g/t Silver and 1.66 g/t gold.