Zinc producer Symbol Mining (ASX:SL1) doesn’t expect to make any money on five of its first six shipments of zinc thanks to a lab error that saw it ship much lower grades than expected.

The company shipped the first zinc concentrate from its Macy mine in Nigeria to China in late November last year.

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But Symbol faced some operational issues, revealing in early March that the zinc it had been shipping was much lower than expected.

The issue was due to a lab error.

Managing director Tim Wither told Stockhead at the time that the situation was “disappointing, as we were hitting all our targets with the given facts from a reputable service provider”.

“If we knew then, what we know now, we would have made different decisions in the blending of the shipments,” he said.

The first six shipments were affected, but Symbol says it has now fixed the problem and it is shipping concentrate grades of over 40 per cent zinc.

As a result of the error in grade, Symbol says it expects to “generate negative cashflow” for the first five shipments.

Symbol’s quarterly report shows it received $625,000 in receipts from customers, but its costs pushed it to a negative cash flow of about $1.9m.

The company said it was able to implement several initiatives to reduce costs and optimise revenue during the March quarter.

Symbol has started commissioning a second processing plant, which is scheduled to be fully operational by mid-April producing at a rate of around 36,000 tonnes a year.

In other base metals news:

  • Red River Resources (ASX:RVR) has reported record production from its Thalanga mine in Queensland for the March quarter. Zinc production was up 16 per cent on the prior quarter to 8,952 tonnes, lead production climbed 25 per cent to 3,763 tonnes and copper concentrate jumped 134 per cent to 1,694 tonnes.
  • Havilah Resources (ASX:HAV) has revised the terms of the sale of its Portia and North Portia projects to Consolidated Mining & Civil and Benagerie Gold and Copper. Although the sale price has dropped by $2.1m, Havilah says it will get paid much quicker. “Havilah still receives a fair sale price and is now relieved of the permitting obligations, which will allow it to focus on the other projects in its Copper Strategy – Enhanced by Cobalt,” CEO Walter Richards said.
  • AusQuest (ASX:AQD) says it has uncovered an iron oxide copper-gold (IOCG) system in Peru that looks like it could be bigger still. IOCG deposits, like BHP’s (ASX:BHP) Olympic Dam, can be tremendously large, high grade, and simple-to-process concentrations of copper, gold and uranium ores. AusQuest said it had identified a potential major extension to the copper mineralisation at its Cerro de Fierro project.