Home News NC copper miner plans to ramp up output, says CEO

NC copper miner plans to ramp up output, says CEO

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This follows the establishment of robust processing capacity by the company, with the Rietberg mine in the Northern Cape also coming online.

File picture: Copper 360

By Tawanda Karombo

NORTHERN Cape miner Copper 360 will ramp up to 20,000 tons of copper metal for its 2026 full year, CEO Jan Nelson said this week.

In the near term, Copper 360 is working on raising its production profile to the targeted 12,000 tons.

“In terms of our outlook, our outlook is to produce our target between five and a half and 12,000 tons of copper metal,” Nelson said during an investor presentation.

“And we’ll grow that in the following year, in the 2026 year, to 20 000 tons and then to 50,000 tons as we ramp up all the different ore bodies that we have on site.”

This follows the establishment of robust processing capacity by the company, with the Rietberg mine also coming online.

However, there is still “loads of work to do” for the company.

“The coming year is about leveraging the money that we’ve spent, generating that cash, and then we will grow organically from that point onwards,” added Nelson.

Part of the work for Copper 360 has to do with lowering costs. For the year to the end of February 2024, costs in the company rose from R113.9 million to R167m.

Production costs, however, stayed fairly stable, with the main increase coming from a 27% rise in payroll expenses.

Travel, accommodation and consulting fees were also significantly up during the period: travelling costs surged 424% to R7.3m.

Despite these cost increases, Copper 360 managed to attain its strategic goals that include listing of the company and raising of “enough capital” after it “put an additional equity facility in place (of) which we’ve only used about R10m” of that facility.

“There’s still another R650m available which we will not use, but it is there in terms of any emergency that we might have for some capital items.

“We have established the back-up power supply with the generator farm, we’ve completed all the Rietberg studies.”

In terms of cash generation, the Copper 360 CEO said current operations were already “generating positive cash flow, building up to almost R40m (and) in the next two months to R40m to R50m of revenue” inflows.

Nelson said this clearly placed the company on a different trajectory in the months ahead.

“Our results for the period (to end February), it was about finishing the project, establishing ourselves, putting ourselves in a strong position,and being able to deliver. And I think that’s what we’re going to be doing in the next year,” he said.

In the year under review, Copper 360 raised revenues by 14.7% to R38.2m, supported by copper sales increasing by 10% from 285 tons in 2023 to 313 tons in 2024.

However, the operating loss in the company for the period widened by 59.7% to R112.7m because of “unforeseen load shedding that resulted in the solvent extraction and electrowinning (SX/EW) plant only having an operational efficiency of 65% over a period of four months” of the reporting period.

There was also critical mill failure at the SX/EW plant, also partially the result of the “stop-and-start” impact of load shedding.

This was in addition to inadequate crushing capability from third-party contractors that impacted recoveries negatively by 9.8%.

– BUSINESS REPORT

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