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MMG’s Dugald River mine lifted zinc production by 22 per cent last quarter compared to the same period last year.

The boost came through improved mining volumes at the North West Queensland mine and a record month for stope ore in May.

This, together with a sustained improvement in recoveries, offset the ongoing impact of lower ore grades, the company said.

Dugald River produced 43,672 tonnes of zinc in zinc concentrate, and 5,569 tonnes of lead in lead concentrate during the second quarter of 2020.

Improved mining volumes resulted from ongoing work to open up new operating areas and ensure a steady feed of ore to the mill.

MMG said the production result was also assisted by sustained fleet availability and a focus on maintaining high broken stock levels.

Improved mill throughput levels and optimisation of the crushing and grinding circuit, which supported significant improvement in recovery levels, offset the impact of lower-than-anticipated zinc ore grades.

MMG said Dugald River was expected to remain on track to deliver annual mine capacity of two million tonnes and targeted zinc equivalent production in excess of 200,000 tonnes per annum by 2022.

“Noting the ongoing uncertainty associated with COVID-19, MMG at this stage continues to maintain its existing 2020 guidance for Dugald River, with production of between 170,000 and 180,000 tonnes of zinc in zinc concentrate and C1 costs of US$0.70-0.75/lb,” it said.

Good mining volumes lift Dugald River zinc figures