Austral Resources (ASX:AR1) has achieved its target of positive operational cash flow and commercial production at the Anthill Project, which is part of its greater Lady Annie Project in Queensland.
The commercial production and positive operational cash flow was achieved following an average production rate of 33.3 tonnes per day of plated copper for a total of 976 tonnes over a 29-day operating period.
Austral is expecting to progressively increase production levels at the project through the remainder of 2023 at an average production rate of 33.5 tonnes per day.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director Dan Jauncey says this achievement comes only 14 months after listing on the ASX on 3 November 2021, and starting works on 7 January 2022.
Adding on to this, Jauncey told this news service the milestones were reached amid a challenging 2022, in which Austral overcame various adversities, not least of which was hikes in diesel prices, COVID quarantine, and inclement weather.
The CEO says, with these milestones achieved at Anthill, Austral Resources will focus on maintaining stability with where it is currently and keeping on track with achieving 1,000 tonnes of copper production per month.
“It was a challenging 2022 for our team, with a lot of variables outside of our control impacting our first 12 months as an ASX listed company — from recommissioning existing infrastructure that was dormant for a period of time, severe weather events causing power outages and operational disruptions, an escalation of diesel prices by 65%, to a bearish copper price.
“From the board to the camp chiefs, we have been shoulder to shoulder, with one goal in mind, becoming operationally cash flow positive…And we achieved that in December”
And do not forget the little elephant in the room being COVID. At one stage we basically had to shut down for day shift and could only run night shift due to staff being quarantined in our on-site camp. From the board to the camp chiefs, we have been shoulder to shoulder, with one goal in mind, becoming operationally cash flow positive. And we achieved that in December.
The fact our mining campaign with Thiess is still 12% ahead of schedule means, at this stage, Anthill mining will finish earlier than our budget has factored in, that dovetailed in with our business producing copper cathode nine months after our mining costs cease, will substantially reduce the c1 cost we saw in December.
We look forward to an increasingly productive year during 2023, and further repaying the faith and trust placed in us with operational success.”
Jauncey adds the faith and trust the company’s investors and service providers placed in Austral when it restructured its agreement with Thiess and took on a $12.8 million finance facility through Secover is a testament to the company’s successful year.
“We knew these setbacks would be temporary, and today’s announced results illustrate the faith and trust placed in Austral and its team was well deserved.”
As of 3pm AWST Austral Resources Australia’s share price had increased by 12%.
The company notes that total costs, including selling costs, royalties and exploration expenditure for the December 2022 quarter were $8.9 million, (which is equivalent to US$2.83 per pound), however operational costs are expected to decline during 2023.
Austral Resources is located in Queensland Gulf country. The company’s strategy is to deliver a first-class product and service that is recognised and sought-after worldwide from its portfolio of exploration and production tenements.
Austral’s Anthill project is located within the Lady Annie Project and some 45km from the Mt Kelly processing facility. The project currently has an ore reserve of 5.06 million tonnes grading 0.94% Cu.
The company owns a significant copper inventory with a JORC compliant Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) of 60Mt @ 0.7% Cu.
Images: Austral Resources Australia Ltd