Metals X Launches Reset Plan for Nifty Copper Operation

Metals X announced that it is launching a reset plan for its Nifty copper project after not seeing the success it had hoped for.

After not seeing the operational success it had hoped for, Metals X (ASX:MLX,OTC Pink:MLXEF) announced Wednesday (May 1) that it is launching a “reset plan” for its Nifty copper operation.

When the company acquired the asset in 2016, Nifty showed potential through a notable resource, previously installed infrastructure and “significant geological upside.” However, according to Metals X, the asset has underperformed due to poor execution, inadequate planning and legacy issues.

The company has reviewed the asset over the last several months, leading to a two phase reset plan to increase production and resolve the asset’s former issues. Phase 1, which is already ongoing, has a focus on mine planning, developing new production areas and improving underground infrastructure.

The first phase’s goal is a throughput rate of 2 million tonnes per year (Mtpa), docketed to be achieved in the March 2020 quarter; success here would see an annual production rate of 28,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of copper concentrate.

Later on, Phase 2 will target a 2.5 Mtpa throughput rate during the March 2021 quarter, which would lead to the production of 35,000 tpa of copper concentrate.

“Unfortunately, performance at Nifty has suffered from a number of legacy issues as well as a lack of planning and focus, poor decision making and poor execution. The Metals X Board acknowledges this. We now have the right team and the right plan in place to unlock Nifty’s considerable value,” Metals X Managing Director Damien Marantelli said in a statement.

“This plan has been fully supported by the Metals X Board, which has worked closely with management on the development of the key work streams and milestones. The entire Metals X team is confident this plan is achievable and will provide long-term value.”

The reset plan is expected to cost $27 million over three years to enable an effective expansion; the company intends to fund the plan through a mix of cash flow and debt facilities.

According to Metals X, Nifty’s geologic potential was one of the driving reasons for the asset’s initial acquisition. To date, 70,000 meters of resource definition drilling have been taken on, with the measured, indicated and inferred resource being increased by 15 percent to 41.5 million tonnes (Mt) at 1.5 percent copper for 622,000 tonnes of copper.

The drilling also led to a 144 percent increase in proven and probable reserves, reaching 13.9 Mt at 1.71 percent copper for 237,500 tonnes of copper. Nifty’s resource estimate is currently being updated to include drilling completed in 2018, with a release planned for mid-2019.

Metals X dropped 1.79 percent on Wednesday on the ASX, ending the day of trading at AU$0.27.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper was trading at US$6,441 per tonne as of April 30.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Olivia Da Silva, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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