Australian miner OceanaGold Corp. on Thursday reported “excellent” performance of its Didipio copper-gold project in Nueva Vizcaya for the first three months of operations, saying that it expects solid production outlook this year.
Mick Wilkes, OceanaGold managing director, said that since the start of commercial production in April 2013, Didipio’s output continues to ramp up, operating at well above the 2.5 million tons per annum (Mtpa) of ore throughput rate.
“We’re confident that we will meet a total of 2.5 million tons throughput for 2013 as per our business plan,” he said, adding that recovery has been strong for copper and gold, and is exceeding expectations.
For 2013, Didipio is expected to produce 50,000 ounces to 70,000 ounces of gold, and 15,000 ounces to 18,000 tons of copper.
“Overall, commissioning has gone extremely well and we’re very pleased with the result,” he said.
“Our plan is to ramp up the plant to 3.5 Mtpa throughput by the end of 2014, which means that we should average 3 Mtpa in 2014 and then 3.5 Mtpa in 2015. This will be achieved through debottlenecking, which will require only small amounts of capital expenditure of roughly a couple of million dollars,” he added.
Since April, the company completed three shipments, each with 5,000 dry metric tons of concentrates. It is also expecting two shipments over the next four to six weeks with approximately 20,000 tons of concentrate on stockpile between the port and the mine site awaiting shipment.
OceanaGold is a significant Asia Pacific gold producer with projects located on the South Island of New Zealand and in the Philippines. Its assets encompass New Zealand’s largest gold mining operation at the Macraes goldfield in Otago, which is made up of the Macraes Open Pit and the Frasers Underground mines. Additionally on the west coast of the South Island, the company operates the Reefton Open Pit mine. The company’s Didipio Project in Northern Luzon is in the commissioning stage, and is expected to produce 100,000 ounces of gold and 14,000 tons of copper per year on average over an estimated 16 year mine life.
James Konstantin Galvez