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DeGrussa copper-gold mine. Image: Sandfire Resources

Sandfire Resources has kept the DeGrussa operations in Western Australia on track to meet the upper end of its gold and copper production guidances for the 2021 financial year.

The company produced 16,803 tonnes of copper for the March quarter, an increase of 413 tonnes on last quarter, while gold production dropped 560 ounces to 9100.

Copper guidance remains at 67,000-70,000 tonnes and gold production is expected to meet the guidance range of 36,000-40,000 ounces.

Sandfire managing director and chief executive Karl Simich said it was an exciting time to be seeing strong copper outcomes.

“The March Quarter has delivered exciting progress for Sandfire on a number of fronts, against the backdrop of continued strength in the copper price and a robust outlook for copper,” Simich said.

“In Australia, our DeGrussa Operations delivered another quarter of strong copper and gold production, putting us on track for the upper end of our 2021 financial year guidance band.

“We were able to take full advantage of the healthy copper price environment, with copper hitting a 10-year high of $US9,550 ($12,294) per tonne in late February.”

Along with the strong production rates, Sandfire was able to achieve a copper recovery rate of 93.3 per cent at its DeGrussa mill.

Internationally, Sandfire has well advanced the procurement of key process equipment, licenses and contracts at the Tshukudu operation in Botswana.

Simich expects the operation’s T3 project to receive its mining license soon.

“The Government of Botswana is expected to award the mining licence for the T3 project in the coming weeks, clearing the way for full-scale construction of the $US259 million project development to commence,” he said.

The company’s exploration program continued to progress, at home and abroad at the Black Butte copper operation in the United States.

“We also expect to receive results from the exploration drilling at Black Butte and we have many other significant exploration activities underway – including a deep hole at DeGrussa to test for down-plunge extensions of the known ore system and a raft of activity under way across the Eastern Seaboard in the Temora and Cobar regions,” Simich said.