THUNDER BAY – MINING – North American Palladium Ltd. (TSX:PDL)(NYSE MKT:PAL) reports on the progress of its production ramp up from the lower Offset Zone utilizing the new shaft infrastructure at its Lac des Iles palladium mine (“LDI”) in northern Ontario.
In January, underground production averaged over 3,100 tonnes per day, ahead of the Company’s operating guidance, which forecasted an average underground mining rate of approximately 3,000 tonnes per day for the first half of the year. The Company estimates that payable palladium production in January totaled approximately 15,200 ounces, which was approximately 15% above internal forecasts and represented one of the best months in the last two years of operation. Production in January also benefited from higher underground grades which averaged approximately 4.90 grams per tonne palladium.
The Company has also started to benefit from its ongoing mill improvements, with January recoveries averaging around 84% from a blended concentrate mill head grade of approximately 3.35 grams per tonne. The Company’s plans to modify the design of the underground ore handling system are on track, which upon completion should increase the tonnage hoisted through the shaft and accordingly result in decreased mining costs.
“We are very pleased with the progress to date at LDI, which has surpassed some of our internal forecasts for the month of January and continues to show good trends in February so far,” said Phil du Toit, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Although still early on in the year, we remain encouraged by the momentum of our new team at site, and the potential that can still be realized through our ongoing cost optimization initiatives and improved mine planning. I would like to recognize the good work of our team and contractors at LDI, whose efforts have fueled the progress to date.”