Metarock extends Eloise copper link

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High-grade chalcopyrite copper development face at Eloise in Queensland, Australia

Mining contractor Metarock has secured a four-year extension of its stay at the Eloise copper mine in north-west Queensland, Australia, as it looks to reinforce its connections with former Pybar clients and build its long term hard-rock mining pipeline.

Metarock recently announced a A$9.7 million net loss contribution from Pybar – acquired last year – to its group net profit of $1.7m for the 12 months to June 30, 2022. Group FY22 revenue nearly doubled year-on-year to $452.7m, including an initial nine-month, $165m contribution from Pybar.

Pybar started a development contract at Eloise in November 2020 when it was owned by FMR Investments. The extension contract is with AIC Mines, chaired by former Centamin boss Josef El-Raghy.

AIC reported last month an increase in resources at Eloise to 4.75 million tonnes grading 2.4% copper, 0.6 grams per tonne gold and 10.1gpt silver for 115,000t of contained copper plus about 100,000oz of gold and 1.5Moz of silver. Reserves were put at 1.5Mt at 2.3% copper, 0.6gpt gold and 9.6gpt silver. It is guiding for FY23 copper production of 12,500t and 6000oz gold output at $4.50/lb copper AISC from the 750,000tpa plant at Eloise.

“Since taking ownership of the Eloise copper mine in November 2021 AIC Mines has completed almost 15,000m of underground drilling in the Macy, Levuka and Deeps areas at a cost of $2.9. This drilling has added ore reserves and mineral resources at a cost of 22c/lb of copper and 11c/lb of copper, respectively,” AIC said.

Metarock said it was developing and mining ore at Eloise.

The company said last month it was targeting EBITDA of $50-55m and revenue of $600-650m in FY23, with 79% of the forecast revenue underpinned by its $1.9 billion order book as at June 30 this year.

Hard-rock mining activity accounts for circa-$200m of its order book for the next two years, but that drops to negligible levels from FY25 and nothing at this stage from FY27 when it still has nearly $400m of coal work on its books.

Metarock has meanwhile won a two-year mining and services contract at Whitehaven Coal’s Narrabri underground thermal coal mine in New South Wales.

“Both the contract extension at the Eloise copper mine and the new contract with Narrabri coal operations have been included in the recent FY2023 guidance provided to the market,” Metarock said.

Managing director Tony Caruso said Metarock looked forward to “building on the strong relationship” with AIC at Eloise.

“This extension reinforces the quality relationships Pybar has with its clients and supports our confidence beyond the current tenures in the contract order book,” he said.


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