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Canadian miner Nevsun Resources’ large precious-metals- and base-metals-rich volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) deposit, located 150 km west of Asmara, Eritrea, is expected to reach commercial production during the first quarter of 2011. Deposit mineralisation consists of gold and silver oxides, besides copper and zinc massive sulphides.

The Bisha project, where construction started in September 2008, is expected to go into production in late 2010 and to be a low-cost gold producer for the first two years and a high-grade copper concentrate and zinc producer for the remainder of its mine life.

The mine is expected to produce 1,06-million ounces of gold, 9,4-million ounces of silver, 734-million pounds of copper and over one-billion pounds of zinc over the life-of-mine.

Bisha is advancing well towards the plant commissioning phase later this year. Following a relatively short commissioning process and reaching commercial production during 2011, the company further expects to produce more than 100 000 oz of gold a quarter at a cost of less than $250/oz.

With over 95% of procurement completed, it is believed that the capital cost will be within the budget of $260-million.

With such low operating costs, Bisha is expected to achieve higher-than-average indus- try profitability and cash flow. Nevsun says that, with its current cash position of about $83-million, as well as the normal contributions by the State-owned Eritrean National Mining Corporation, there will be enough funds to satisfy all construction cash requirements.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu