An increase in zinc production is on the cards for New Century Resources (ASX:NCZ) after the company completed an upgrade of the rougher circuit at its Century mine.

The upgrade was delivered under budget and four weeks ahead of schedule, allowing the company to increase throughput by 33 per cent to 12 million tonnes per annum.

This is expected to increase overall zinc metal production while reducing the overall unit cost of production by increasing output against the 70 per cent fixed cost base on site.

As part of the throughput increase, the company is also bringing a fourth and final mining cannon online.

New Century produced 28,123 tonnes of zinc in the December 2019 quarter, up 7 per cent from the previous quarter, while C1 cash costs improved by 3 per cent to $US0.96 per pound.

The company had forecast production of between 29,000 tonnes and 35,000 tonnes of zinc and C1 cash costs of between $US0.85 and $US0.95 per pound in the March 2020 quarter.

It expects to declare commercial production at the end of the June 2020 quarter.

Shares in the company climbed 3 per cent this morning.


Meanwhile, Panoramic Resources (ASX:PAN) expects to start mining stoping ore from its Savannah North deposit in March 2020.

Progressive ramp-up of stoped ore volumes is expected throughout the year, which is expected to drive improved operation performance at the Savannah mine in Western Australia’s East Kimberley region over the next 12 months.

This comes after the company developed a plan to resolve recent geotechnical challenges encountered while developing the Savannah North ventilation raise.

Once this is completed during the September 2020 quarter, Panoramic expects there will be sufficient primary airflow to allow the planned production ramp-up to proceed according to schedule.


In other ASX base metals news today:

Mithril Resources (ASX:MTH) will be joined by CBH Resources at its Billy Hills zinc project near Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia.

CBH, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Japanese non-ferrous metals refiner Toho Zinc Co, has the right to earn an 80 per cent interest in the project by completing expenditure of $4m over five years.

Billy Hills contains numerous zinc targets including the Firetail prospect, where rock chip samples returned assays of up to 30.3 per cent zinc, 127 grams per tonne (g/t) silver and 3 per cent lead.