Austral Resources (ASX:AR1) has unveiled a concept mining study that indicates the possibility of extracting an additional 10,000 tonnes of contained copper from its Anthill copper project in Queensland. This represents a significant increase of over 20% compared to the volumes estimated in the 2021 Feasibility Study. The increase is attributed to higher copper prices and the inclusion of flotation to process high-calcium transitional and copper sulphide material.
The added copper inventory is particularly noteworthy for Austral Resources as it has the potential to generate additional revenue of approximately $100 million to $120 million. Importantly, around 80% of the increased copper resources come from Measured and Indicated Resources, effectively replacing depleted Ore Reserves.
Furthermore, there is a potential for annual production to be boosted by 25,000 to 30,000 tonnes if the concept mining study at Anthill is combined with an additional 20,000 to 23,000 tonnes of contained copper oxide ore from previously mined pits such as Lady Annie, Lady Brenda, Mount Clarke, and Flying Horse.
Austral Resources’ Managing Director, Dan Jauncey, emphasized the company’s focus on finding more oxide resources to support its copper production facilities. He highlighted that the 2021 Ore Reserve estimate, based on a lower copper price of around US$10,300 per tonne, was always a consideration. Jauncey expressed enthusiasm for the significant increase in Mineral Resources indicated by the study, which, when validated, could extend the mine life by approximately five to seven years.
The results of the concept study are viewed as highly promising by Austral Resources, with potential for increased profitability, growth, and value. In the March 2023 quarter, the company produced 2,818 tonnes of copper from its Anthill operation, generating net revenue of $35.55 million and operating cash flow of $13.6 million.
Moving forward, Austral Resources plans to conduct detailed dilution and ore loss analysis, including potential Selective Mining Unit Analysis. It will update the pit design, incorporating stages, and develop a detailed mine plan. Additionally, the company will assess the economic viability of the expansion through financial modeling of the Detailed Mine Schedule and update the Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves estimates to formalize the identified production potential.
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