The company also has a number of brownfields and greenfields exploration projects that present significant growth opportunities for the company and its shareholders.
Importantly, following a recent capital and debt restructure, Aeris is now in a position to explore these growth opportunities.
The experienced board and management team aims to progress Aeris into a mid-sized, multi-mine company.
A proven copper producer
Aeris is an established copper producer and developer with multiple mines and a 1.8 million tonnes per annum copper processing plant at its Tritton Copper Operations in New South Wales.
The 100% owned operation is targeting production of 27,000 tonnes of copper in FY2018.
In FY2017, the Tritton Copper Operations produced 23,404 tonnes of copper, mainly from the Tritton underground mine.
It has over 5 years of mine life given the 1.6 million tonnes per annum processing rate and 10.5 million tonnes of Ore Reserves grading 1.5% copper.
Murrawombie underground mine ramping up
The Murrawombie mine which was commissioned during FY2017, continues to ramp up to full production rates.
Ore production was on plan during the December half and currently on track to reach full production rates during FY2018.
Mineralisation at Murrawombie is open at depth presenting good potential to extend the mine’s life.
Multiple mines means more opportunities for extensions
The processing mill at the Tritton Copper Operations has been fed from the following mines:
• Tritton underground;
• Murrawombie underground;
• Avoca tank underground;
• Murrawombie open cut; and
• Budgery open cut.
Potential exists to extend the overall mine life at the copper operations through:
• Tritton extensions at depth;
• Budgerygar access from Tritton;
• Tritton wings;
• Murrawombie extensions at depth; and
• Avoca tank to be tested at depth.
Focusing on two key exploration projects
Aeris is focusing its exploration on two key areas, the Tritton tenement package and the Torrens Project in South Australia.
The Tritton tenement package consists of six exploration licences covering ~1,800 square kilometres of prospective ground for base metal deposits.
It hosts a proven mineral rich corridor with 750,000 tonnes of copper discovered within the Tritton tenement package.
The 70% owned Torrens Project is prospective for iron-oxide copper gold deposits and is in the Gawler Craton region which hosts the world class mines.
Torrens Project has signatures of world-class Olympic Dam
Aeris owns 70% of the Torrens Project with joint venture partner Argonaut Resources (ASX:ARE).
The world class provinces hosts three renowned mines in BHP’s (ASX:BHP) Olympic Dam, Oz Minerals’ (ASX:OZL) Prominent Hill and Carrapateena.
Torrens is a coincident magnetic and gravity anomaly with a footprint considerably larger than that of Olympic Dam.
Previous drilling confirmed the existence of a major iron oxide copper-gold (IOCG) mineralising system beneath several hundred metres of sedimentary cover.
In the event of a discovery, Torrens has the scale to host a world-class copper-gold deposit.
Final approval at Torrens received following 10-year process
Final approval to recommence on-ground exploration was received from the South Australian government in February 2018 following a 10-year process.
A regional airborne gravity survey is planned for the current March quarter with a drill program expected to follow.
Continuing to pay down debt
Recently, Aeris completed a debt and equity restructuring that will see it significantly reduce its debt and simplify its capital structure.
Significantly, the restructuring transaction will see Senior debt reduced by 53% down to US$30 million from US$63.3 million.
Andre Labuschagne, executive chairman, said: “This is the best position the company has been in for the last five years.
“With debt reduced, potential shareholder dilution reversed, and the capital structure simplified, the company is now positioned to attract renewed interest from quality investors and trade on a normalised basis, reflective of the fundamental value and growth prospects of the company.”