Galena Mining is closing in on first lead concentrate production at 60%-owned Abra in Western Australia’s Gascoyne region, with first underground development ore mined this month and construction of the 1.3 million tonnes per annum processing plant nearly complete.
The company said this week it was on target for ore delivery to the plant in January.
The A$170 million (US$115m) project is set to produce about 93,000 tonnes of lead and 550,000oz of silver per annum, after ramp-up, over a planned 13-year life.
Galena has offtake arrangements in place for its 60% share of Abra concentrate output with Swiss base metals trader IXM. Japan’s Toho, which owns the other 40%, is shipping its share to its Chigirishima smelter and refinery in Hiroshima.
Galena CEO Tony James said this week Abra was “one of the cleanest and largest undeveloped lead deposits in the world”.
“Abra will produce high-grade, high-value lead-silver concentrate with one-tenth [the] typical deleterious elements,” he said.
Jones told the company’s annual general meeting Abra’s 75% lead and up to 200 grams per tonne silver “product” would be the highest-grade primary lead concentrate available globally. Galena was getting a premium price under its 10-year contract with IXM for the concentrate.
Galena says its share of output is expected to generate average annual EBITDA of A$100 million in steady-state production.
Jones said global mined lead production could increase from 4.6Mtpa to 4.8Mtpa by 2026, including Abra. He said reserve depletion and the lack of new mines was generating a deficit outlook beyond 2024.