Pan Australian steps up copper project in Laos

Pan Australian steps up copper project in Laos

Pan Australian Resources Ltd. , which is developing a copper, gold and silver mine in the southeast Asian country of Laos, said construction work was running about three months ahead of schedule.

The mine is now expected to start production of concentrate from its Phu Kham lode in the first quarter of calendar 2008, compared with a previous start date of mid-2008, a company spokesman said.

At peak production, Pan Australian estimates the mine will average 50,000 tonnes of copper, 50,000 ounces of gold and 400,000 ounces of silver annually.

Pan Australian initially paid $500,000 for an 80 percent stake from joint owners Anglo American AAL.L and Normandy Mining, now part of Newmont Mining NEM.N. The other 20 percent cost the company $5 million.

Fellow Australian miner Oxiana Ltd. has raced to develop its Sepon copper mine in Laos in hope of capturing an upswing in metals prices.

Copper MCU3 hit an all-time peak of $8,800 a tonne in May 2006, around the same time gold XAU+ soared to about $730 an ounce, the highest in a quarter century.

Both metals have since recoiled — copper to about $5,700 a tonne and gold $643 an ounce — but are still above long term average prices. ($1=A$1.27)

Source: Reuters

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