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New Century Resources is successfully ramping up production at its Century tailings retreatment site at a time when a host of other zinc mines have had operations halted or interrupted.

The company says its operations are well positioned to maintain continuity of supply into a rapidly tightening market due to severe supply cuts and
strong concentrate demand from China.

A quarterly presentation released yesterday showed record monthly performance in March of 11,400 tonnes of metal produced at the Lower Gulf mine site at C1 costs of US$0.82/lb following the most recent plant upgrades.

The company said all three refurbishment stages of the planned Century ramp-up were completed ahead of schedule, with commissioning activities to now progressively ramp up to a 12Mtpa operation over the remainder of FY20.

Projecting annual production based on recent monthly rates, the company places its Lower Gulf operation within the Top 10 global producers.

And many other mines on that list are now on care and maintenance or facing other COVID-19 related interruptions, with a raft of producing countries in lockdown.

New Century said its remote mine site and isolated port facility provided a strong platform for safe and uninterrupted operation during the COVID-19 pandemic

The vast majority of workforce already Queensland-based and key interstate staff have been temporarily relocated to Cairns for uninterrupted
operation.

Global zinc demand has dropped due to COVID-19 (outpaced by supply cuts), however it is forecast to grow by 1.5 per cent per annum over the next decade.

This represents more than 200,000 tonnes of additional new zinc metal production per annum required to meet demand.

New Century points to major supply cuts to current operations and lack of investment in new mines as factors in a looming shortage of zinc concentrate supply.


Image: New Century's chart of top zinc producers, based on Wood Mackenzie 2019 production data and a projection of Century annual output based on current monthly run rates. Red lines indicated operations now on care and maintenance or otherwise suspended/interrupted.


Century ramps up against tightening zinc market