Katanga Mining Announces 2017 First Quarter Production Results and Date for Release of 2017 First Quarter Financial Results

ZUG, Switzerland, May 3, 2017 /CNW/ - Katanga Mining Limited (TSX: KAT) ("Katanga" or the "Company") today announces its 2017 first quarter production results and date for release of 2017 first quarter financial results.

Highlights during the three months ended March 31, 2017, and Outlook






Three months ended



Mar 31,

Dec 31,

Mar 31,



2017

2016

2016

Mining





Waste mined

tonnes

7,547,604

2,152,986

1,142,672

Ore mined

tonnes

-

-

-

Average copper grade

%

-

-

-

Contained copper in ore mined

tonnes

-

-

-

Processing





Ore milled

tonnes

-

-

-

Finished copper metal and concentrate

tonnes

-

-

-

Finished cobalt

tonnes

-

-

-

 

Ongoing suspension of production

  • On September 11, 2015, the Company announced the decision to suspend the processing of copper and cobalt during the construction phase of the Whole Ore Leach Project ("WOL Project"). The suspension continued through the first quarter of 2017 and production is not expected to resume until the WOL Project is commissioned, which is expected to commence in Q4 2017.
  • Mining operations continued during 2017 and 2016 at KOV and Mashamba East Open Pits with a focus on waste mining.

Mining

  • Waste mined in Q1 2017 was 5,394,618 tonnes (250.6%) higher than in Q4 2016 and 6,404,932 tonnes (560.5%) higher than in Q1 2016 due to increased waste mining activities in 2017 in view of the commissioning of the WOL Project, which is expected to commence in Q4 2017;
  • There was no ore mined in Q1 2017 due to the revised waste mining plan (pre-strip) in the open pits which was put in place following the suspension of copper and cobalt processing at the end of Q3 2015.  The revised waste mining plan aims to secure sufficient ore availability for processing once the suspension of copper and cobalt processing ends, while minimizing costs during the suspension period; and
  • In Q1 2017, the Company commissioned:
    • 4 CAT 793 haul trucks at the KOV Open Pit mine.

Processing

  • Due to the plant shutdown, there was no copper or cobalt metal produced for sale in Q1 2017. 
  • During Q1 2017 work continued on the WOL Project:
    • Significant progress was made on the Structural, Mechanical, Platework and Piping (SMPP) activities on the acid tanks, Preleach, Leach and CCD trains. The SCADA and control system programming is well advanced and the final design packages are expected to be completed in Q2 2017;
    • Related capital expenditures amounted to $31.1 million in Q1 2017, which related to SMPP activities and procurement of various long lead time items (Q4 2016 - $16.7 million; Q1 2016 - $35.1 million); and
    • Concurrent with the construction of the WOL Project plant and infrastructure, the current Life of Mine Plan continues to be optimized to ensure the appropriate blend will be supplied to the WOL Project process when complete, in order to maximize copper and cobalt recovery and to minimize operating cost per unit.

Outlook

  • During Q2 2017:
    • Open pit mining operations are expected to continue with a focus on waste mining following the revised mine plan, which aims to secure sufficient ore availability for processing once the suspension of copper and cobalt processing ends, while minimizing costs during the suspension period;
    • High pressure backfill operations at KTO are expected to continue to ensure underground stability;
    • Care and maintenance activities in the underground mine, KTC and Luilu are expected to continue;
    • Work is expected to continue on construction of the WOL Project according to the defined project plan. Commissioning of the WOL Project is expected to commence in Q4 2017; and
    • Various initiatives relating to cost reductions, consumable inventory reductions, staff training and process improvements are expected to continue to be developed and implemented.

The Company expects to release its 2017 first quarter financial results on or about May 11, 2017.

This press release was prepared under the supervision of Tim Henderson, Technical Consultant and Director of Katanga and a "qualified person" as such term is defined in NI 43-101. Mr. Henderson has reviewed and approved the contents of this press release.

Unless otherwise specified, all $ amounts referred to in this press release are U.S. dollars.

About Katanga Mining Limited
Katanga Mining Limited operates a major mine complex in the Democratic Republic of Congo producing refined copper and cobalt. The Company has the potential to become Africa's largest copper producer and the world's largest cobalt producer. Katanga is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol KAT.

Forward Looking Statements
This press release may contain forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, the ongoing suspension of copper and cobalt processing, the resumption of production following the commissioning of the WOL Project, Open Pit waste mining activities, remediation activities, high-pressure backfill operations, care and maintenance activities, ongoing design optimization, construction and commissioning of the WOL Project, and other cost-base reduction initiatives, consumable inventory reductions, staff training and process improvements. Often, but not always, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or describes a "goal", or variation of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will" be taken, occur or be achieved.

All forward-looking statements reflect the Company's beliefs and assumptions based on information available at the time the statements were made. Actual results or events may differ from those predicted in these forward-looking statements. All of the Company's forward-looking statements are qualified by the assumptions that are stated or inherent in such forward-looking statements, including the assumptions listed below. Although the Company believes that these assumptions are reasonable, this list is not exhaustive of factors that may affect any of the forward-looking statements. The key assumptions that have been made in connection with the forward-looking statements include the following: the operations of the Company during the production suspension and timeline for the recommencement of operations remaining consistent with management's expectations, there being no significant disruptions affecting the operations of the Company whether due to labour disruptions, supply disruptions, power disruptions, rollout of new equipment, damage to equipment or otherwise; permitting, development, operations, expansion and acquisitions at the Project being consistent with the Company's current expectations; continued recognition of the Company's mining concessions and other assets, rights, titles and interests in the DRC; political and legal developments in the DRC being consistent with its current expectations; the continued provision or procurement of additional funding from Glencore for operations, the completion of the T17 Underground Mine, the WOL Project and the Power Project (as defined in the Annual Information Form of the Company for the year ended December 31, 2016 dated March 31, 2016); that new equipment performs to expectations; the exchange rate between the US dollar, South African rand, British pounds, Canadian dollar, Swiss franc, Congolese franc and Euro being approximately consistent with current levels; certain price assumptions for copper and cobalt; prices for diesel, natural gas, fuel oil, electricity and other key supplies being approximately consistent with current levels; production, operating expenses and cost of sales forecasts for the Company meeting expectations; the accuracy of the current ore reserve and mineral resource estimates of the Company (including but not limited to ore tonnage and ore grade estimates); and labour and material costs increasing on a basis consistent with the Company's current expectations.

Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, future events, conditions, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, prediction, projection, forecast, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such factors include, among others, the unforeseen delays or changes to the WOL Project; actual results of current exploration activities; actual results and interpretation of current reclamation activities; conclusions of economic evaluations; changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; future prices of copper and cobalt; possible variations in ore grade or recovery rates; failure of plant, equipment or processes to operate as anticipated; accidents, labour disputes and other risks of the mining industry; delays in obtaining governmental approvals or financing or in the completion of exploration, development or construction activities, delays due to strikes or other work stoppage, both internal and external to the Company as well as those factors disclosed in the Company's current annual information form and other publicly filed documents. Although Katanga has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those described in forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause actions, events or results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.

The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.

SOURCE Katanga Mining Limited

For further information: Johnny Blizzard, CEO, Tel: +41 (041) 766 71 10; Jacques Lubbe, CFO, Tel:+41 (041) 766 71 10

RELATED LINKS
www.katangamining.com

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