The company said in its full-year results statement that the ramp-up to processing a targeted 12,000 tonnes a year of copper in concentrate continues to advance in accordance with the company's accelerated development plan.
Over the coming months, the company will aim to progress its plans to add a dense media separation (DMS) pre-processing unit, as well as making other improvements, which should serve to further improve and enhance the extraction process.
Cradle Arc said its accelerated development plan would enable it to fast-track access to the deeper supergene and sulphide ores at Mowana, which have demonstrated better recoveries and grades, and in turn improve the overall economics of the project.
Since the commencement of the plan, the company has had two mining units working full time in the Mowana open pit and seen recoveries improve. A third mining unit is scheduled to be brought on-line before the end of June 2018, following which the company will focus on developing sufficient space in the mining pits to enable the fourth mining unit to commence operations towards the end of the third quarter of this year.
“From recovery levels of just 35% experienced in the oxide ores, we are now averaging recoveries of 56% on a steady state blending basis and up to 76% on the supergene material encountered at the current base of pit level at 940RL,” the company said.
The main focus of the group's financial activities in the financial year just ended was the acquisition of a majority interest in Mowana and funding of the re-commissioning of the mine.
The financial year saw the company earn £570,000 of revenues, comprising test production revenues from Mowana and fees from strategic partners.
A loss before tax of £13.8mln was mainly due to the £12.5mln write-down in the value of the company's Zambian exploration assets.
“Our focus remains firmly on building production and revenues. In support of this, the long-term pricing fundamentals for copper remain strong and our current ramp-up to pre-DMS nameplate capacity of 12,000 tonnes per annum continues to advance in accordance with our accelerated development plan,” said Toby Howell, the non-executive chairman of Cradle Arc.