SMM News: Nigel Robinson, CEO of (Central Asia Metals Ltd), a basic metals producer, said that due to the leakage of the company's Sasa mine tailings dam in northern Macedonia on September 14, its zinc concentrate production will be reduced by about 400,500t / week and lead concentrate production will be reduced by about 500,600t / week.
"preliminary indications are that the shutdown will not take more than a month," Robinson said in an interview. He added that the situation at the TSF4 mine dam was now under control. "but we can't start work until we're absolutely sure. Maybe in a week or two, we will upgrade. "
He added that the leak lasted about half an hour on September 14 and then stopped.
Robinson said CAML closed its Sasa processing plant immediately after the leak, followed by an "orderly closure" of mining activities.
Due to limited storage space, there are only a few trucks of concentrate inventory at the site, but they can still be transported to the smelter, he said.
"this will affect production in 2020," he said, noting that the company's zinc and lead guidelines were currently being evaluated, with the mine producing 12203 tons of zinc concentrate and 15140 tons of lead concentrate in the first half of the year, both higher than in the same period in 2019.
Previously, the company's production guidelines for 2020 were 23000-25000 tons of zinc and 30000-32000 tons of lead.
Copper production continues because of high prices
CAML said copper production at the Kounrad mine in Kazakhstan continued as usual, and despite the accident at the Sasa mine, the company was expected to meet its 2020 copper production target of 12500-13500 tons.
Robinson said zinc, copper and lead prices were all "pretty good" at the moment, and copper prices had rebounded from the COVID-19 epidemic, exceeding expectations, partly driven by government stimulus measures. Zinc and copper prices are expected to fall slightly to more conservative levels in 2021-22, he added.
Because of the low-cost nature of the company's copper business, he said: "even if the price of copper falls to $1000 a tonne, I don't necessarily have insomnia."
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