True North Copper ‘consistently’ increases sulphate production

True North Copper (ASX:TNC) has consistently increased copper sulphate production throughout August 2023, the company says in an operational update for the month.

The $101.56 million market capitalisation company says it has continued increasing copper sulphate production at its Cloncurry Project in Queensland, Australia throughout the month, in tandem with the rise in soluble metal concentrations within the SX Plant production circuit.

The company anticipates metal concentrations to continue rising throughout September 2023 (as consistent with testwork), until the plant achieves its projected production capacity, projected to be by the end of September 2023.

True North Copper has an exclusive offtake agreement with Kanins International for its copper sulphate production in Queensland.

Addressing the month’s performance, Managing Director Marty Costello says: “Commissioning of our SX Plant commenced in late June following refurbishment works. Despite a delay of approximately three weeks to our initial commissioning schedule, our sulphate production levels are now progressing as anticipated. Production of copper sulphate is low cost, and its market value ensures we receive timely revenue, typically within 5 days post-production.

Our decision to initiate production with existing oxide ore stockpiles was strategic, allowing us to solidify our operational foundation as exploration progresses at our Mt Oxide and Cloncurry Projects and we finalise mining restart studies. With the planned commencement of mining at our Cloncurry Project, copper sulphate production is projected to constitute 20-25% of our annual metal output.

We’re nearing the final stages of studies supporting the pending decision to resume mining operations at Cloncurry, which will allow us to commence copper concentrate production, and we expect to update the market in the December quarter.”

True North’s copper sulphate product contains greater than 24% copper content (generally between 24-26%), crystallised form and free flowing.

Copper sulphate is a mineral salt widely used in various industries, including agriculture, mining, water treatment, and chemical manufacturing. Its applications range from agricultural fungicides, animal feed supplements, and soil sterilisation to electroplating and laboratory reagents.

True North Copper is paid (100% LME price + premium) for the copper content of each bag. Each bag carries up to 1.25 tonnes of product. The company has an offtake agreement which requires all copper sulphate produced by True North Copper at its Queensland sites for the life of copper sulphate production from those sites to be purchased by Kanins International.

Since commencement of copper sulphate production, copper concentrations in solutions have continued to increase. The current PLS grade is 1.2g/L and flows from heap are 39.1m3/hr. True North Copper expects this to increase as per testwork and operational metallurgical balance, until process and plant capacity is reached.

Since commencement of copper sulphate production, copper concentrations in solutions have continued to increase

The company’s operational team has delivered significant advancements in recent weeks as its operational knowledge and experience increases. Additionally, maintenance crews have transitioned from reactive measures, which were part of the initial plant commissioning, to now executing planned and scheduled programs.

As of 29 August 2023, current run-of-mine uncrushed oxide ores stocks are circular 50kt of ore transported from True North Copper’s Mt Norma mine site. This oxide ore is uncrushed (sizing 100mm- 800mm) and unleached grading approximately 2%.

All-in sustaining costs for this copper sulphate product are expected to be in the range of $0.8 – 1.40 per/lb AUD. August 2023 production is within this guidance, the company reports.

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Images: True North Copper
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Written By Adam Orlando Editor-in-Chief Adam Orlando has more than 20 years’ experience in the media having held senior roles at various publications, including as Asia-Pacific Sector Head (Mining) at global newswire Acuris (formerly Mergermarket). Orlando has worked in newsrooms around the world including Hong Kong, Singapore, London, and Sydney.