“Accommodation and flights have been challenging due to multiple projects in the region and the mine preparing for higher volumes once commissioning is complete, which impacted bed availability.
“The site has subsequently come off the peak workforce demands, with the crushing plant completed and going through the final stage of commissioning.”
MinRes said the expansion remained in line with the initial budget of $120 million with work set for completion in mid-May.
However, it warned both spodumene concentrate and battery chemical sales from Mt Marion would be at the lower end of full-year guidance along with a big jump in spodumene production costs.
The company confirmed for the first time that its interest in Essential was linked to Mt Marion after helping to vote down Tianqi and IGO Limited’s $136 million plan to acquire the lithium explorer.
MinRes disclosed on April 14 that it had bought 19.5 per cent of Essential, with the share price subsequently surging to well above the 50¢ offer price lobbed by Tianqi and IGO in January.
In mining services, MinRes production fell to 52 million tonnes compared to 70 million tonnes in the December quarter. “Equipment and people were moved to joint venture projects but delays in approvals impacted volumes,” it said.
MinRes cut mining services full-year production volume guidance from a range of 270 million tonnes to 280 million tonnes, to 245 million tonnes to 255 million tonnes.
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