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Panaust copper production set to surge to 90,000 tonnes at Phu Kham in Laos

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PanAust (ASX:PNA) will trade firmer after revising the life of mine plan for the Phu Kham copper-gold operation in Laos, with annual copper in concentrate production now forecast to increase to 90,000 tonnes in 2018.

Production guidance for 2013 remains unchanged at between 62,000 tonnes and 65,000 tonnes of copper in concentrate.

A comprehensive review of the life of mine schedule was required following the revision of the 2013 and 2014 mine plan earlier this year, to prioritise mining on the west wall of the Phu Kham open pit.

The outlook to 2015 remains unchanged from that announced in February 2013 with copper in concentrate production of between 65,000 tonnes and 70,000 tonnes in 2014 as the operation benefits from a full year of the increased recovery project.

Subsequently, between 2016 and 2019 increasing head grades will cause copper in concentrate production to rise to peak levels of around 90,000 tonnes per year in 2018 and 2019.

Gold grades are forecast to be variable, with production from 60,000 ounces to 80,000 ounces in concentrate through to to 2020.

Benefits are being realised from the capital invested in the processing plant at Phu Kham over the past two years, with annualised processing rates of over 18 million tonnes per annum and metallurgical recoveries exceeding those predicted for each ore type that has been treated.

Considerable tailings storage capacity has been developed over the past two years sufficient to contain tailings disposal through to 2015, expected to result in a reduced capital expenditure requirement for future storage facility construction.

Additionally, a pre-feasibility study, scheduled for completion in December, is focused on defining an ore reserve at the KTL deposit through assessment of optimum ore delivery to Phu Kham from KTL, which is located 100 kilometres north of Phu Kham.

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