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Sandfire advances high-grade Monty copper project on positive feasibility study

ASX-listed copper producer Sandfire Resources NL has released a feasibility study that confirms the viability of its 70%-owned Monty copper-gold mine to supply high-grade ore to the existing DeGrussa operation in Western Australia.

Monty, which forms part of the Springfield joint venture with Talisman Mining Ltd., will be developed as an underground satellite mine with a three-year life that will produce total contained metal of 70,000 tonnes of copper, 21,000 ounces of gold and 288,000 ounces of silver.

Sandfire said April 6 that its share of the preproduction capital outlay will be A$50.0 million, which will be funded by cash reserves and cash flow from the DeGrussa operation.

The company plans to purchase Talisman's 30% share of the Monty ore to supply the DeGrussa concentrator, which will be expanded to 400,000 tonnes per annum.

Mining at DeGrussa will be reduced to between 1.2 million tonnes per annum and 1.3 mtpa from the current 1.6 mtpa starting in the middle of the 2019 financial year to allow ore from the Monty mine to be blended in at a rate of between 300,000 tpa and 400,000 tpa.

Sandfire has already been granted a mining lease for Monty and a license for the haul road to DeGrussa, and it expects to receive all remaining approvals by the end of the current financial year.

Early works including statutory approvals, design work and tendering for contracts are already underway, and the development of the box-cut for the underground portal is expected to begin in the second quarter of the 2018 financial year.

Production is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of the 2019 financial year.