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The first copper cathode has been produced at Austral resources’ Anthill mine in Mt Isa, successfully completing an intensive site development and plant commissioning since listing eight months ago.

This paves the way for Austral to meet its stated objective of producing copper cathode at a rate of 10,000 tonnes per annum from mid-2022.

Austral chief executive officer Steve Tambanis said the production milestone was of huge significance for Austral.

“It concludes an intensive eight-month period where the Anthill Mine was developed from a bare paddock into a fully integrated mine and the Mt Kelly plant was refurbished and commissioned,” he said.

He said production statistics were impressive:

  • 8.5 million tonnes of overburden has been moved at Anthill since January
  • 354,000t of oxide ore has been mined, representing over 4000t of contained copper
  • Over 70,000t of Anthill ore has been stacked on the heap leach and is producing copper
  • Positive mine grade reconciliation to date

“The most important aspect is that the operation is de-risked and comfortably ramping-up to design capacity of 10,000tpa cathode. With that comes increased sales revenue and cashflow,” Tambanis said.

“Our exploration and development activities are being scaled up to discover and deliver new copper ore.

“The MIM joint venture is a significant step to increasing our exploration efforts – with a seasoned regional explorer that has operated in the district for decades.

“Austral commences oxide exploration drilling this month at a number of prospects and sulphide exploration drilling is planned to begin shortly at Lady Colleen. Discussions are underway with other potential exploration JV partners.”