FNX Mining Company Inc. expects to increase its annual production in 2007 to 900,000 tons of ore, an increase of 42 per cent over the company's 2006 production. The company's McCreedy West Mine in Sudbury is expected to produce a total of 635,000 tons of ore, while the newly rehabilitated Levack Mine is expected to contribute 265,000 tons.
FNX has also committed to a significant increase in its annual capital and exploration budgets to help accomplish its aggressive five-year growth plan and to capitalize on the current robust commodity prices. The 2007 capital and mine development budgets total $142 million and the 2007 advanced and general exploration budgets total an additional $31 million.
The company expects to self-fund the 2007 planned expenditures without the need for equity or debt financing.
At the McCreedy West Mine, the 2007 capital and mine exploration programs will be focused on increasing ore reserves, equipment replacement, mine development and production. In addition, the company is evaluating the potential rehabilitation of existing ore handling facilities to allow it to transport McCreedy West nickel ore along the 1600 Level to the Levack Mine where it would be hoisted to surface via the rehabilitated No. 2 Shaft.
Handling the McCreedy West nickel ore through the Levack Mine would allow an increase in the amount of McCreedy West copper-precious metal ore to be mined and brought to surface via the existing McCreedy West ramp.
At the Levack Mine, the 2007 capital and mine exploration programs will include new equipment purchases, construction of surface and underground ore handling facilities, underground mine development and production, extensive detailed underground drilling and sampling and an incremental increase in production during the year to 1,500 tons per day (based on six days a week) by the fourth quarter of 2007.
Expenditures on the Levack Footwall Deposit will include the continuation of the current surface and underground drill programs, driving ramps and drifts from nearby Levack and Craig underground infrastructure, detailed underground drilling, bulk sampling, ventilation raises, new equipment purchases and reconditioning of the Levack No. 2 shaft to the 3900 Level to allow the initiation of ramp development from the 3650 Level to the lower parts of the Levack Footwall Deposit. Also included are the recently announced advanced exploration and development programs from Xstrata Nickel's Craig Mine into the Levack Footwall Deposit.
The 2007 Podolsky Mine capital and exploration programs include provisions for the completion of the on-going advanced exploration program, new surface and underground equipment and infrastructure, lateral development on both the 1750 and 2450 Levels from the shaft to the ore deposit, ventilation raises, pre-production development and bringing the mine into production in 2008.
The 2007 exploration budget of $31 million includes $14.3 million for advanced exploration activities at McCreedy West, Levack, and the Levack Footwall Deposit. The 2007 General Sudbury Basin exploration budget totals $16.3 million and includes $5.0 million at the McCreedy West Property, $7 million at the Levack Property and $4 million on the Aurora Sudbury properties (primarily the Falconbridge and Foy Properties).