Frontier Mining Ltd , the AIM quoted copper exploration and development company focused on Kazakhstan, announces that construction activities at Benkala are well advanced, with all major equipment items delivered to site and in the final stages of assembly for the initial design capacity of 7,000 tonnes per annum of cathode copper. The Company anticipates that all major construction activities will be completed in December and that the project will commence commissioning and pre-operational start up following the formal launch of the project on 16 December 2011 as part of the Kazakhstan Government's Industrial Development Programme.
Many of the plant systems, including the crushing circuit and electrical interconnection are now operational. Mining activities will continue throughout the winter months and Frontier will commence loading of the leach pads as soon as weather permits in 2012 with cathode production beginning shortly thereafter. Once in production, the Company plans to immediately move to expand the annual production capacity of the SX-EW plant from 7,000 to 10,000 tonnes and subsequently to 20,000 tonnes.
Erlan Sagadiev, CEO of Frontier Mining, commented: "We are excited to begin commissioning our SX/EW plant. Although we had hoped to see our first copper in 2011, delaying the commencement of the leaching cycle until spring of 2012 is a prudent step in the face of the risks associated with the weather. It will also enable comprehensive testing of all plant systems and facilitate a smooth start up, advancing our goal of establishing Frontier as a premier mid-tier copper producer."