Increased Resource Paves the Way for Hard Rock Mining to Recommence
- South Block resource - 6.1 Mt at 6.8% Zn + Pb (5.3% Zn, 1.5% Pb, 43 g/t Ag).
- Total hard-rock resource - 9.3 Mt at 10.8% Zn + Pb (6.1% Zn, 4.7% Pb, 66 g/t Ag).
- Expansion feasibility study to assess potential for in situ resources to enhance Century's mine life and increase zinc and lead production.
Analyst comment: the increase in the hard-rock resource has confirmed our long-held belief that there is significantly more potential at the Century Zinc operation than just the tailings reprocessing opportunity.
We take the view that the existing hard-rock resource alone will underpin a positive expansion feasibility study, which will lead to hard-rock mining recommencing at the Century mine (TSI estimate: 2020), operating in parallel with the tailings reprocessing operation.
Processing tailings and hard-rock assets simultaneously will extend the operations mine life from six to 10 years and allow for greater operational flexibility (ore will be sourced from at least four deposits rather than one). Moreover, both the forecast total and annualised revenues will benefit from an increase in silver as well as lead production (the latter metal, we note, is trading at a six-year high).
Based on the current resource, we predict that hard-rock operations will continue for an initial five-year period (1.6 Mt OP and 0.6 Mt UG). And, given that the significant historical exploration database is still under review, it seems probable that more deposits - those deemed too small by previous operators at Century - will be proven up and brought into the future mine plan.
Prior to production from the tailings reprocessing facility commencing in 3Q 2018 and the release of the expansion feasibility study later this year (4Q 2018), we expect that New Century's debt facility with Sprott will be finalised, as will an announcement regarding zinc offtake over the coming months.
Valuation: having incorporated the hard-rock resources into our projected mine plan, which has increased our valuation to $3.61/share (previously $3.10).
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About New Century Resources Ltd
New Century Resources Limited (ASX:NCZ) is developing the Century Zinc Mine in Queensland. The Company recently released a Feasibility Study which highlighted that when production recommences at the project (forecast 3Q18) the operation will produce 264,000tpa zinc metal per annum making the company a global top ten zinc producer. The company is fully funded to first production.
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