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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Solid quarter for Zinifex

MiningNews.net + Solid quarter for Zinifex

MAJOR zinc and lead producer Zinifex is cashing in on the base metals boom with production from its operations "comfortably" ahead of the previous year despite a planned rebuild of the roaster at its Hobart refinery.



Early days at the Century operation

During the March quarter, Zinifex produced 379,462 tonnes of lead and zinc, up from 371,086t in the corresponding quarter but down on the previous quarter's result of 406,384t.

"The March quarter was broadly in line with our expectations from an operational perspective but notable for the large uplift in zinc prices that occurred," Zinifex said.

"Total metal and concentrate produced in the quarter exceeded the same quarter last year despite a planned rebuild of the Hobart roaster, which was largely responsible for the 10% shortfall against the December quarter."

Zinifex is cashing in on surging commodity prices, with zinc averaging $A3050 per tonne during the March quarter and lead consolidating at an average of $1685/t.

At Zinifex's mainstay Century mine in Queensland, zinc-in-concentrate production was 13% higher than the corresponding period last year, which was affected by a SAG mill motor failure.

Like many of its counterparts, climatic conditions played its part with zinc and lead concentrate sales lagging behind production following a number of weather-related shipping delays, and a late wet season hampering pit operations at Century during the quarter.

Elsewhere, Zinifex said the ramp up to increase zinc production to 260,000t per annum at its Budel refinery in the Netherlands is nearing completion, with commissioning scheduled for the June quarter and production expected to reach full capacity in the first half of the next financial year.

However, the company said market electricity prices remain high with little prospect of relief in the foreseeable future.

Shares in the company hit a 52-week low of $2.63 in May before gaining ground to hit a 52-week high of $11.68 last week. The stock shed 41c (3.8%) during morning trade to $10.40.

Click here to read the rest of today's news stories.

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