PanAust Commissions Plant Upgrade at Phu Kham

PanAust commissioned a plant upgrade project at its Phu Kham copper-gold opera-tions in northern Laos in early September 2012. Circuit optimization and ramp-up to design capacity are expected to lift plant throughput from 12 million mt/y to 16 mil-lion mt/y by yearend 2012. Implementation of the upgrade was timed to coincide with a scheduled decline in copper head grade as greater quantities of primary ore are mined and processed. The project came in within its budget of $95 million and included installation of a second 12-MW ball mill and additional flotation capacity.

Copper and gold recovery rates at Phu Kham are expected to increase by 2% as a result of improved mineral liberation in the milling circuit and increased residence time in the flotation circuit. Production of copper in concentrates at Phu Kham will increase over the next three years as a result of the upgrade project and a previ-ously announced increased recovery project that is scheduled for commissioning in the first quarter of 2013. Production is forecast to rise to between 65,000 mt and 70,000 mt of copper in concentrate in 2013 and to between 70,000 mt and 75,000 mt of copper in concentrate in 2014. Phu Kham gold and silver production is also expected to increase.

PanAust also reports that discovery of the Nam San deposit in 2011 and broad intersections of copper-gold and gold min-eralization at the LCT deposit, 6 km north-west of Phu Kham, indicate the potential, subject to further exploration success, for future growth in copper and gold production in the Phu Kham district.

PanAust is a Brisbane-based Australian company. Its operations in Laos also include the Ban Houayxai gold-silver oper-ation, located 25 km west of Phu Kham.

As featured in Womp 2012 Vol 10 -