DAILY NEWS Jan 14, 2013 4:42 PM - 0 comments

PALLADIUM: North American tops guidance, details expansion progress

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ONTARIO – Toronto-based North American Palladium (NAP) says preliminary palladium production numbers for last year were actually a little above its guidance at 163,980 oz of payable palladium. The forecast was between 150,000 and 160,000 oz.

The mill at the Lac des Iles mine 85 km northwest of Thunder Bay treated slightly more than 2 million tonnes of ore from both underground (853,600 tonnes at 5.19 g/t) and surface sources (1.2 million tonnes at 2.21 g/t). The combined average mill head grade was 3.44 g/t Pd, and palladium recovery averaged 78%.

Surface construction for the $260-million expansion at the Lac des Iles mine is now complete. The headframe, the main substation, the hoist building, the service hoist, and the auxiliary hoist are fully operational. Crews have begun installing the production hoist, which will be ready in a few weeks. The remaining work on surface, says the company, includes the installation of the main skip dump and the ore bins.

NAP says underground shaft sinking is currently at a an approximate depth of 475 metres, or almost 60% of way to the total 825 metres planned for the first phase of sinking. Installation of the loading pocket on the 740-metre level is scheduled for Q1 2012. Ramp and stope development projects are also underway and on schedule. Mining via shaft is to begin in the third quarter.

The expanded operation will have an annual output of 250,000 oz of platinum beginning in 2015.

Follow the progress of the expansion at NAP.com.

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