With the Sonora property now producing, the company is projecting monthly production between 1,500-3,000t. It has already mined and stockpiled about 1,200t of massive sulphide ore with a head grade of 10-15% combined zinc and lead.
This month, Azure mobilised a contractor at Oposura to kick off open-pit mining; it has also completed the access road refurbishment project to connect the site to the main highway. In addition, it pre-stripped overburden from the sulphide horizon and performed grade control drilling.
Azure officials said the next step for Oposura comes in September, when it is expecting to execute a toll treatment agreement with a third-party sulphide flotation processing plant. Ore transport to the San Javier flotation plant for that phase will start in August.
"We acquired Oposura in August 2017, and to be commencing an early-stage, low-cost, high-grade mining operation within 24 months is a great achievement," managing director Tony Rovira said.
"This operation allows Azure to realise early cash-flow that will help fund the ongoing feasibility study, which will ultimately see Oposura in full-scale production."
Oposura's open-pit mining will continue through August, and the underground mining contractor will begin work at the site next month to commence the second phase of mining. Once underground, mining will be carried out via room and pillar (bord and pillar) mining to ensure maximum recovery.
Over the mine's initial six-year mine life, mining will be by open-pit for three years followed by underground mining for another three years.