Vast Resources Blasts Past Delivery Targets at Baita Plai
(AIM:VAST ) has confirmed this week that its flotation plant at its Baita Plai mine in Romania is now fully operational and producing concentrate, with production already exceeding initial expectations.
On 7 September, with three years of resource drilling nearing completion, the Company delivered a comprehensive announcement detailing both the production schedule and internal estimates of cashflow for Baita Pai.
The production plan outlined both initial production for Sept-Dec’20 of 14,116 tonnes delivered to the processing plant with an estimated 644 tonnes of Cu concentrate.
The Company also revealed its Cu production cost margin curve, identifying Baita Plai as one of the worlds lowest-cost operating Cu mines.
Importantly for shareholders, using the above cost margin curve, the associated cashflow analysis demonstrated positive cashflow more than US$0.5m, before development costs for 4Q20.
Source: Vast Resources *This development and production plan has been developed and compiled by Craig Harvey, the COO for Vast Resources PLC and a full-time employee and Director of the Company.
Commenting on the forecast and in reference to Vast’s copper equivalent Cost & Margin curve chart above, Andrew Prelea, CEO of Vast Resources said, “Following the completion at the end of 2021 of the current underground development down to the next level, Baita Plai is expected to be one of the lowest cost per ton copper producers globally.”
He added, “The low operating costs will ensure Baita Plai remains a viable commercial operation regardless of the potential future commodity market fluctuations.”
However, due to a safety issue at the railway bridge access point between the mine and the floatation plant, production was delayed during September for three to four weeks before the Company was able to make its first sale of concentrate.
Importantly, the Company reacted swiftly to the incident and announced it would be able to supplement 150 tonnes of prepared concentrate to form part of the first sales to Mercuria, expected at the time to be completed in October.
Initial estimates for the reconstruction of the new steel bridge access point was 18 September, which was delivered on time and on budget.
Andrew reassured investors at the time that “there is no expected impact on October production and sales targets.”
On 7 October, the Company announced production had recommenced at Baita Plai and that daily blasting was occurring on mineral horizons of the Antonio skarn between levels 17 and 18 – key targets for future production.
The Company also confirmed blasted materials would be stored and transported to the to the surface to the flotation plant in preparation for hot commissioning of the flotation plant expected to ‘commence shortly’.
Pleasingly for investors, earlier this week the Company confirmed that the floatation tank was now fully operational and producing concentrate.
Furthermore, the Company is on track to surpass its initial Cu concentrate sales delivery targets and expects delivery of ‘between 350-400 tonnes of copper concentrate to Mercuria as soon as possible thereafter’.
Shares in Vast Resources have increased in value by 10% in the past two weeks to trade at 0.18p.
The past few months have been a particularly busy period for VAST with the recommencement of mining and commissioning of the processing plant.
Swift execution to the evolving situation at Baita Plai has rewarded them handsomely with production of Cu concentrate produced in October estimated to be more than 50% of the total FY20 target in the first month of mining and processing.
Whilst the company hasn’t updated internal cashflow projections, the implications of improved processing at Baita Plai certainly suggests all the risk is on the upside and we expect the market to react positively as the perceived operational risk of the mine decreases and the value of one of the most low-cost operating mines for Cu becomes more well known to investors.
Furthermore, Investors still have news on the first deliveries to Mercuria and the JORC resource, expected shortly, to look forward to as a catalyst for the re-rating of VAST.
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