RNS Number : 1595M

Central Asia Metals PLC

10 January 2023

10 January 2023


('CAML' or the 'Company')

2022 Operations Update

Central Asia Metals plc (AIM: CAML) today provides a Q4 and full year 2022 operations update for the Kounrad dump leach, solvent extraction and electro-winning ('SX-EW') copper recovery plant in Kazakhstan ('Kounrad') and the Sasa zinc-lead mine in North Macedonia ('Sasa').

2022 summary

   -      Zero lost time injuries ('LTIs') at Kounrad and two LTIs at Sasa 
   -      Record copper production at Kounrad, above guidance range 

o 14,254 tonnes of copper produced

   -      Zinc and lead production at Sasa within guidance range 

o Zinc in concentrate production of 21,473 tonnes

o Lead in concentrate production of 27,354 tonnes

   -      Cash in the bank on 31 December 2022 of $60.6 million 
   -      Debt free following the full repayment of the corporate debt facility in August 2022 

2023 production guidance

   -      Copper, 13,000 to 14,000 tonnes 
   -      Zinc in concentrate, 19,000 to 21,000 tonnes 
   -      Lead in concentrate, 27,000 to 29,000 tonnes 

CAML production summary

 Metal production (tonnes)    Q4 2022     2022     2021 
 Copper                         3,569   14,254   14,041 
                             --------  -------  ------- 
 Zinc                           5,262   21,473   22,167 
                             --------  -------  ------- 
 Lead                           6,628   27,354   27,202 
                             --------  -------  ------- 

Nigel Robinson, Chief Executive Officer, commented:

"I am delighted to report strong production from both of our operations during 2022.

"At Kounrad, we had a record year and exceeded our guidance, producing over 14,000 tonnes of copper cathode into a broadly strong pricing environment. At Sasa, I am proud of our team's hard work and efforts throughout the year to ensure that we met our guidance and began progressing the Cut and Fill Project. Two LTIs at Sasa were disappointing, and we have adapted training to mitigate against further similar incidents.

"As part of the Cut and Fill Project, construction of the paste backfill plant has begun with good progress and therefore remains on schedule for H1 2023. Additionally, work on the Central Decline continues to progress towards the Svinja Reka ore body, with 1,051 metres being developed during the year bringing the total advanced to 1,554 metres.

"At Kounrad, earthworks undertaken by our own team have begun for the construction of the Solar Power Project, which is on schedule for completion during H2 2023.

"We enter 2023 in a debt-free position and look forward to delivering another year of strong base metal production and beginning the transition to the cut and fill mining method at Sasa. Our 2022 annual results are scheduled to be released on 29 March 2023, when our final dividend for 2022 will also be announced."

Health and Safety

There were no LTIs at Kounrad and one at Sasa during Q4 2022.

During 2022, there were zero total recordable injuries ('TRIs') at Kounrad and, to 31 December 2022, there have been 1,689 days since the last LTI at Kounrad. At Sasa in 2022, there were two LTIs, two medical treatment injuries ('MTIs') and one restricted work case ('RWC') during the year, equating to five TRIs for the Company.


Kounrad delivered Q4 2022 copper production of 3,569 tonnes, bringing output for 2022 to 14,254 tonnes, a production record for CAML.

Copper sales during Q4 2022 were 3,843 tonnes, bringing the total for 2022 to 14,342 tonnes.

Solar Power Project Update

Earthworks for the Solar Power Project began in Q4 2022 at a 10-hectare site close to the SX-EW plant. Project construction being undertaken by Kounrad's in-house engineering team is expected to be complete in the latter part of H2 2023.


In Q4 2022, mined and processed ore were 203,483 tonnes and 202,175 tonnes respectively, bringing the total for 2022 to 806,069 tonnes of ore mined and 806,653 tonnes of ore processed. The average head grades for the quarter were 3.11% zinc and 3.54% lead, and for the year were 3.15% and 3.63% respectively. The average 2022 metallurgical recoveries were 84.6% for zinc and 93.4% for lead.

Sasa produces a zinc concentrate and a separate lead concentrate. In Q4 2022, 10,500 tonnes of concentrate containing 50.1% zinc and 9,268 tonnes of concentrate containing 71.5% lead were produced. Total production for 2022 was 42,824 tonnes of zinc concentrate at an average grade of 50.1% and 38,439 tonnes of lead concentrate at an average grade of 71.2%. Sasa typically receives from smelters approximately 84% of the value of its zinc in concentrate and approximately 95% of the value of its lead in concentrate. Accordingly, Q4 2022 payable production of zinc was 4,423 tonnes and of lead was 6,297 tonnes, bringing total 2022 payable production to 18,048 tonnes of zinc and 25,987 tonnes of lead. Payable base metal in concentrate sales from Sasa in Q4 2022 were 4,323 tonnes of zinc and 6,219 tonnes of lead and for 2022 were 17,862 tonnes of zinc and 25,689 tonnes of lead.

During Q4 2022, Sasa sold 79,120 ounces of payable silver to Osisko Gold Royalties and during 2022 sold 316,757 ounces, in accordance with its streaming agreement.

  Units                                   Q4 2022       2022      2021 
 Ore mined                     t          203,483    806,069   818,609 
                              ---------  --------  ---------  -------- 
 Plant feed                    t          202,175   80 6,653   830,709 
                              ---------  --------  ---------  -------- 
 Zinc grade                    %             3.11      3. 15      3.14 
                              ---------  --------  ---------  -------- 
 Zinc recovery                 %             83.6      84 .6      84.9 
                              ---------  --------  ---------  -------- 
 Lead grade                    %             3.54      3. 63      3.52 
                              ---------  --------  ---------  -------- 
 Lead recovery                 %             92.6       93.4      93.1 
                              ---------  --------  ---------  -------- 
 Zinc concentrate              t (dry)     10,500     42,824    44,383 
                              ---------  --------  ---------  -------- 
        *    Grade             %             50.1       50.1      49.9 
                              ---------  --------  ---------  -------- 
        *    Contained zinc    t            5,263     21,473    22,167 
                              ---------  --------  ---------  -------- 
 Lead concentrate              t (dry)      9,268     38,439    37,893 
                              ---------  --------  ---------  -------- 
        *    Grade             %             71.5       71.2      71.8 
                              ---------  --------  ---------  -------- 
        *    Contained lead    t            6,628     27,354    27,202 
                              ---------  --------  ---------  -------- 

Cut and Fill Project update

The Cut and Fill Project, which comprises the construction of a paste backfill plant and associated reticulation, a dry stack tailings plant and associated landform, and development of a new decline, will ensure maximum extraction of Sasa's resources, in the safest way, with minimal water usage and improved tailings management.

Development of the Central Decline continues to progress well, with 1,051 metres developed during 2022, and 1,554 metres in total and is on schedule to complete phase 1 to connect surface with the 910 production level by the end of H1 2023. Construction of the Paste Backfill Plant on surface and the associated underground infrastructure remains on schedule to be completed in H1 2023. Additionally, orders have been placed for key items required for the Dry Stack Tailings plant, which will be constructed during H2 2023.

2023 guidance

CAML targets 2023 Kounrad copper production of between 13,000 and 14,000 tonnes of cathode, which is effectively a 500-tonne increase on CAML's 2022 initial copper production guidance.

At Sasa, 2023 will be a year of transition from the current sub-level caving mining method to cut and fill stoping. Therefore, CAML maintains its ore mined guidance year on year of 790,000 to 810,000 tonnes. The Company expects some adjustment in the split of its metal products this year, and therefore provides production guidance of 19,000 to 21,000 tonnes of zinc in concentrate and 27,000 to 29,000 tonnes of lead in concentrate.

Given the ongoing Sasa Cut and Fill Project, CAML expects Group 2023 capital expenditure of between $28 million and $30 million, of which between $11 million and $13 million is expected to be committed to sustaining capex. The project capital expenditure also includes construction of the Kounrad Solar Power Project which is expected to cost between $4 million and $5 million.


As of 31 December 2022, CAML had cash in the bank of $60.6 million. The corporate debt facility was fully repaid in August 2022.

For further information contact:

Central Asia Metals                 Tel: +44 (0) 20 7898 9001 
Nigel Robinson 
Gavin Ferrar 
Louise Wrathall                     louise.wrathall@centralasiametals.com 
Director of Corporate Development 
Emma Chetwynd Stapylton             emma.chetwyndstapylton@centralasiametals.com 
Investor Relations Manager 
Peel Hunt (Nominated Advisor and    Tel: +44 (0) 20 7418 8900 
 Joint Broker) 
Ross Allister 
David McKeown 
BMO Capital Markets (Joint Broker)  Tel: +44 (0) 20 7236 1010 
Thomas Rider 
Pascal Lussier Duquette 
BlytheRay (PR Advisors)             Tel: +44 (0) 20 7138 3204 
Tim Blythe 
Megan Ray 
Rachael Brooks 

Note to editors:

Central Asia Metals, an AIM-listed UK company based in London, owns 100% of the Kounrad SX-EW copper project in central Kazakhstan and 100% of the Sasa zinc-lead mine in North Macedonia.

For further information, please visit www.centralasiametals.com and follow CAML on Twitter at @CamlMetals and on LinkedIn at Central Asia Metals Plc

This information is provided by RNS, the news service of the London Stock Exchange. RNS is approved by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a Primary Information Provider in the United Kingdom. Terms and conditions relating to the use and distribution of this information may apply. For further information, please contact rns@lseg.com or visit www.rns.com.

RNS may use your IP address to confirm compliance with the terms and conditions, to analyse how you engage with the information contained in this communication, and to share such analysis on an anonymised basis with others as part of our commercial services. For further information about how RNS and the London Stock Exchange use the personal data you provide us, please see our Privacy Policy.



(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 10, 2023 02:00 ET (07:00 GMT)

Central Asia Metals (LSE:CAML)
Gráfica de Acción Histórica
De Feb 2023 a Mar 2023 Haga Click aquí para más Gráficas Central Asia Metals.
Central Asia Metals (LSE:CAML)
Gráfica de Acción Histórica
De Mar 2022 a Mar 2023 Haga Click aquí para más Gráficas Central Asia Metals.