Caravel’s namesake copper project could be capable of greater mill throughput than originally expected with final evaluation work now underway.

A 1.9 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) increase in mill throughput to 13.9Mtpa could deliver an additional 5,000t of copper in concentrate per annum, taking total annual production up to 40,000tpa of copper during Stage one and 61,000tpa in the second stage.

Caravel Minerals (ASX:CVV) adds that mining costing and scheduling work for the Pre-Feasibility Study have been completed with unit costs that are in line with those estimated in its 2021 Scoping Study.

However, the company noted that slow laboratory turnaround has delayed some metallurgical studies though results received to date again remain in line with the Scoping Study.

Additionally, this delay and the work required to evaluate the increased throughput option have combined to push the final reporting date for the PFS out to May this year.

Capital cost estimates have also indicated that labour and material costs, particularly steel, will increase in line with market conditions though construction contractor CIVMEC has developed a modular construction strategy to help mitigate tight labour market conditions and take advantage of site proximity and transport connections to Perth.

The company has started discussions with local suppliers while activities relating to water supply, infrastructure, land tenure and environmental permitting are progressing well.


Higher copper production

Process circuit optimisation work carried out in conjunction with mining studies had identified the opportunity to increase plant throughput by up to 16% by implementing secondary crushing to reduce the size of the feed material.

The capital cost increase required for the addition of secondary crushing is expected to be low and more than offset by the impact of higher production, which will result in overall lower total processing costs.

This in turn offsets the 18% increase in assumed power costs.

Detailed pit designs, mining schedules and costings have been completed for both the current throughput scenarios (12 to 24 Mtpa) and the higher throughput scenarios that are now under investigation.

Caravel notes that the higher throughput scenarios can be readily accommodated with only minor amendments to the schedules and no significant variation to designs.

Importantly, mining working capital and unit operating costs will remain about the same while fixed costs will remain unchanged.

This article was developed in collaboration with Caravel Minerals, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.