Mirabela Nickel Limited has provided a production update for the quarter ended 30 September 2010. The full third quarter results will be released on 26 October 2010.
The primary difference between the grade mined and the grade processed is due to the additional processing of lower grade material (not classified as ore) whilst the ramp up of the mining operation is catching up to the processing plant.
Ramp up of the Santa Rita operations continued during the third quarter of 2010.
Mining rates and mobile fleet performance improved significantly during the quarter. Material movement targets were achieved during September due to improved equipment availability and productivity, as well as the arrival of the new contractor shovel and the CAT 994 front end loader. The South Pit pre-strip was completed during the quarter with first ore production occurring during September. The mining team continued their focus on waste removal to open up the strike length of the open pit, which will provide more mining flexibility and is vital for the progress towards full production levels. Mining in the North Pit moved through a major fault structure during August and September and this resulted in higher than average levels of fine, chloritic altered material being mined.
The processing plant's performance was impacted by the higher levels of the chloritic altered material and restricted by a planned, major plant shutdown during August. The shutdown, which included a reline of the SAG and Ball mills, was completed on time and on budget. Plant recovery for the quarter averaged 49%, however since some additional changes to the flotation and grinding regimes, recoveries increased to an average above 55% from the middle of September. Recovery improvement work is continuing.
All production continued to be within contract specifications and was sold to Mirabela's domestic customer, Votorantim Metais Niquel S.A.
Total nickel production to date is 6,700 tonnes of nickel in concentrate. Full year production guidance is currently tracking at 9,500 to 10,000 tonnes of nickel in concentrate. The final quarter of 2010 is expected to be strong with improved processing plant throughput, improved plant recoveries and improved mining rates.
Source: Mirabela Nickel Ltd.