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DeGrussa copper-gold mine. Image: Sandfire Resources

Sandfire Resources has surpassed its production guidance for the 2021 financial year thanks to strong demand for its copper from the DeGrussa operation in Western Australia.

According to Sandfire’s preliminary 2021 financial year production, the company produced 70,845 tonnes of contained copper above its guidance range of 67,000 to 70,000 tonnes.

Sandfire managing director Karl Simich said the production result has reflected the strength of DeGrussa.

“DeGrussa is a wonderful asset, which has delivered safe, consistent and profitable production across nearly 10 years of operations,” Simich said.

“The 2021 financial year has maintained this enviable record, with copper production exceeding guidance at 70,845 tonnes and our C1 unit costs remaining exceptionally low at US$0.81 ($1.08) per pound.”

The C1 operating costs have also benefitted its revenue of $813 million (unaudited) thanks to strong copper prices, which have reached record highs this year.

“The low C1 cost allowed us to take full advantage of the very strong copper price which persisted throughout much of the year, helping to drive a 24 per cent increase in sales revenue over the past 12 months to a record $813 million,” Simich said.

“This reflects very strong global demand for copper as the world increasingly transitions to electric vehicles and other green energy initiatives, all of which require substantial amounts of copper.”

Sandfire’s gold production also met the upper end of its guidance, as the company produced 39,459 ounces within the guidance range of 36,000 to 40,000 ounces.

According to Simich, DeGrussa has put the company in a strong position for the future, while its mining license for the Motheo copper mine in Botswana will add further value to the company.

“Importantly, our ability to harvest significant cash from the DeGrussa Operations has put Sandfire in an outstanding position for the future, giving us significant flexibility and optionality in terms of financing our future growth initiatives,” he said.

“The most important of these in the short term is our exciting new Motheo copper mine in Botswana, where we secured the all-important mining licence award last week. This clears the way for full-scale construction to ramp up and ensures that we can maintain our development timeline of delivering first copper production in early 2023.”