Nova shines

QUARTERLY production at Independence Group’s Nova nickel-cobalt-copper mine 160k east-northeast of Norseman, Western Australia, has exceeded production guidance for the quarter.
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The Nova plan milled 393,000t of ore during the quarter.

There was 411,000t of ore mined at an average grade of 2.28% nickel and 0.97% in the September quarter.

Grades were in line with the previous quarter, thanks to several high-grade stopes from the prior quarter that were still producing this quarter.

Underground development at Nova advanced 895m using one jumbo development crew.

The development work included a minor amount of capital development amounting to about $800,000 for the quarter.

The Nova process plant milled 393,000t of ore at an average nickel copper grade of 2.27% and 0.97% respectively.

Nickel recoveries fell during the quarter from 89% in the June quarter to 86.8% in the September quarter due to a different blend of ore material types.

Average copper recover was in line with the prior quarter at 87%.

Production at Nova was 7724t of nickel and 3490t of copper for the quarter.

However, while the production story was positive the mine was rocked by the death of a concentrator haulage contractor on site.

The worker was injured in an incident on site on September 11 and passed away in hospital on September 18 as a result of his injuries.

Independence Group managing director and CEO Peter Bradford said the mine's staff was deeply saddened by the facility.

"The incident, which is still being investigated, occurred when a haulage contractor was injured in the final stages of completing and securing his load for transport," he said.

"We have made continuous improvements to our safety systems and delivered improved lead and lag safety metrics over the past few years.

"However, this tragic event is a reminder for Independence Group and the industry generally, that the journey to ensure we have the right design, the right systems and process, and the right culture and behaviours is a never-ending journey.

"We must all strive to do better, to ensure our people arrive home in as good or better condition than when the left for work."

Besides Nova, which it operates, Independence Group also has a 25% share in the Anglogold Ashanti-operated Tropicana gold mine east of Kalgoorlie.

Tropicana turned out 123,320 ounces of gold for the quarter, which was at the upper end of pro-rata guidance.