PERTH, AUSTRALIA -- (Marketwire) -- 01/31/13 -- Mawson West Limited (TSX: MWE) ("Mawson West" or "the Company") announces the following update and guidance on activities at its Dikulushi copper-silver mine and Kapulo copper project located in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
-- Successful ramp-up of Dikulushi open pit and achievement of steady state production of approximately 1,600 tonnes of copper per month-- Copper production from Dikulushi expected to be 20,000-22,000 tonnes in FY2013-- C1(1) costs at Dikulushi in FY2013 anticipated to be less than US$0.35 per pound of copper produced-- Kapulo process plant commissioning targeted to commence in late 2013-- FY2013 exploration budget of approximately US$11 million across Dikulushi satellite deposits, Kapulo and Lufukwe
During Q4 2012, Mawson West completed the ramp-up of the Dikulushi open pit, with steady state production of approximately 1,600 tonnes of copper per month achieved in both December 2012 (1,584 tonnes) and January 2013 (approximately 1,600 tonnes). Mawson West expects to produce between 20,000 and 22,000 tonnes of copper in FY2013, with output of more than 4,500 tonnes of copper during Q1 FY2013. C1(1) costs in FY2013 are anticipated to be less than US$0.35 per pound of copper produced.
With the ramp-up of the Dikulushi open pit now complete, Mawson West has commenced studies of a potential underground mine at Dikulushi, where the high grade deposit remains open at depth, providing an opportunity to increase the life of the project. Phase 1 (mining of the upper levels of the measured resource) of these studies is scheduled to be completed during Q2 2013, with Phase 2 (mining of the deeper levels of the measured and indicated resource) scheduled to be completed during Q4 2013.
Mawson West believes that the Dikulushi underground and known satellite deposits provide opportunities to extend the life of the Dikulushi mine by up to four years.
Construction is continuing on a scaled back rate of expenditure at the Kapulo copper project, funded through a combination of existing cash and cash flow from the Dikulushi operation. Work on site is approximately 35% complete, with process plant commissioning targeted to commence in late 2013.
(1) C1 costs are direct cash operating costs per pound of copper produced, net of silver by-product credits.
The Company is also in the advanced stage of a design review and costing study of the Kapulo copper project, with the aim of optimizing the process flow sheet and capital costs. In addition, the Company has commenced a review of the mine design, cutback design and mine scheduling to include the Safari deposits in the mine plan.
Exploration spending in FY2013 is budgeted to be approximately US$11 million as Mawson West intends to evaluate multiple near-mine and stand-alone exploration opportunities within its approximate 7,300 km2 license governed by the Dikulushi Mining Convention, including the work at the Dikulushi satellite deposits, Kapulo and Lufukwe.