Lundin revises production downward after hitting poor grades at Neves Corvo

Neves Corvo, Ludin Mining’s copper-zinc mine located in Portugal, will produce 4,000 tonnes less copper and 19,000 tonnes less of zinc in 2011. The cash cost of production at the mine will also climb from $1.40 to $1.65.

Neves Corvo, which accounts for most of Lundin’s copper output, was expected to produce 76,000 tonnes of copper and 25,000 tonnes of zinc. The outlook has now fallen to 72,000 tonnes of copper and 6,000 tonnes of zinc.

However, zinc production at the company’s Irish mine, Galmoy, was expected to rise from 17,000 tonnes to 28,000 tonnes.

Paul Conibear, President and CEO of Lundin Mining, said the Neves Corvo is subject to “high stresses” and therefore mining rates are less predictable.

“We are continuing to work through this and expect things back on track by Q4 of this year, if not sooner. In order to minimize the effect, and given the high copper prices, the newly expanded zinc plant currently being commissioned will be dedicated to treating copper ore,” Conibear said.

The company said that production from Neves-Corvo comes from a blend of high-grade copper sources (approximately 15% of production) and lower-grade run-of-mine material, often in areas which remain under-defined, but during Q2 production was affected by poor ground conditions surrounding important high-grade massive sulphide stopes thus slowing down the production.

“In order to maximize copper production this year, given the presently overwhelmingly favourable copper versus zinc price, the newly expanded zinc plant currently being commissioned will be used to treat low-grade copper ores rather than zinc ores. This will help make up the Q2 shortfall in copper production,” said the company.

At Galmoy zinc and lead production exceeded targets, so zinc and lead annual guidance was increased to 28,000 tonnes and 8,000 tonnes, respectively.

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