Bisha Reports 2017 Production Results


January 10, 2018

Bisha Mining Share Company (the “Company” or “BMSC”) is pleased to report its 2017 fourth quarter and full year production results (100% basis) for the Bisha Mine in Eritrea for the year ending December 31, 2017.

Bisha Full Year 2017 Operating Highlights

  • Produced 207.8 million pounds of zinc in zinc concentrate, at the top end of its guidance of 190-210 million pounds
  • Produced 18.0 million pounds of copper in copper concentrate, below guidance of 20-30 million pounds
  • Produced 55.1 million pounds of zinc in Q4 2017 as zinc recoveries continued to improve in H2 2017 from H1 2017
  • Moved a record 5.3 million tonnes of material in Q4 2017

Peter Kukielski, BMSC’s Chairman, commented, “We continued to see positive results from our primary ore metallurgy improvement program in the second half of 2017 with zinc recoveries now consistently around 70%.  A specialist contractor was brought in to oversee heavy mining equipment maintenance, which resulted in improved equipment availability and allowed Bisha to move a record amount of waste in Q4. This completed the necessary catch up on stripping of the Bisha pit to allow the mine to access and process 100% fresh primary ore in 2018.”

Mr. Kukielski continued, “We look forward to providing the market with our 2018 outlook for Bisha later this month.”

Preliminary Q4 2017 and full year 2017 operating results are summarized below:

Mining Q4 2017 Full Year 2017
Ore mined, tonnes 362,000 2,050,000
Waste mined, tonnes 4,981,000 15,960,000
Strip Ratio (using tonnes) 13.8 7.8
     
Processing Q4 2017 Full Year 2017
Ore milled, tonnes 520,000 2,233,000
Zinc feed grade, % 6.9% 6.2%
Copper feed grade, % 1.2% 1.0%
Recovery, % of zinc 69.3% 68.2%
Recovery, % of copper 31.0% 37.0%
Zinc in concentrate produced, tonnes 24,700 94,000
Zinc in concentrate produced, millions of pounds 55.1 207.8
Copper in concentrate produced, tonnes 1,700 8,000
Copper in concentrate produced, millions of pounds 4.1 18.0

Copper production in Q4 was, as in Q3, impacted by processing of stockpiled zinc-only ore (previously described as “boundary” material). Zinc-only ore does not result in any recovery of copper into copper concentrate.  Zinc-only ore was processed due to a shortage of fresh primary ore in the Bisha Main pit in H2 2017.

During the quarter, stripping levels increased to 5.0 million tonnes from an average of 3.7 million tonnes per quarter over the previous three quarters.  Waste stripping benefitted from shorter haulage distances due to in-pit waste dumping and from improved heavy mining equipment availability due to the employment of an experienced third-party in overseeing maintenance. Mining benches, walls and faces in the Bisha main pit continued to be re-established to improve mining efficiency with the goal of accessing 100% fresh primary ore in 2018.

The majority of new mining equipment announced in Q3 2017 and purchased in Q4 2017 will arrive on site during H1 2018. This equipment will replace aging equipment on site, improving mechanical availabilities which, along with continued in-pit dumping of waste, will assist the mine in meeting its planned material movement for the upcoming year.

Forward Looking Statements

Forward-looking statements are frequently, but not always, identified by words such as “expects,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “intends,” “estimated,” “potential,” “possible” and similar expressions, or statements that events, conditions or results “will,” “may,” “could” or “should” occur or be achieved.  Forward-looking statements are statements concerning the Company’s current beliefs, plans and expectations about the future including but not limited to commercial production, future production of copper and related cash flows and other events or conditions that may occur in the future, and are inherently uncertain.

Bisha Mining Share Company

“Peter G.J. Kukielski”

Peter G.J. Kukielski
Chairman