Wolf Minerals Ltd. initiated wet commissioning of the ore processing plant at its Hemerdon tungsten-tin project in southwest England in late June and expects to ship the project’s first concentrates before the end of the third quarter of 2015. Project design calls for plant throughput of 3 million metric tons per year (mt/y) and production of 3,450 mt/y of WO3 and 460 mt/y of tin in separate concentrates.
Hemerdon ore is being mined by open-pit methods. Processing includes crushing, screening, and scrubbing; dense media separation; desliming; and gravity separation.
The project’s proven and probable reserves total 35.7 million mt grading 0.18% WO3 and 0.03% tin. Combined measured, indicated, and inferred mineral resources total 145.2 million mt grading 0.15% WO3 and 0.02% tin. Mineralization is open at depth and along strike.
Wolf developed the Hemerdon project through an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract with GR Engineering Services (GRES). GRES was handling wet commissioning of the plant and was scheduled to hand the project over to Wolf in August. Following the hand-over, Wolf will manage the ramp-up of operations, with a target of reaching design throughput in early 2016.
The Hemerdon project is located 10 km northeast of the port city of Plymouth and will be the first new metal mine in Great Britain in 45 years.
Wolf has off-take agreements for 80% of its tungsten concentrate production with GTP Global Tungsten and Powders Corp. and Wolfram Bergbau und Hütten AG. It has a tin off-take agreement with Traxys, a global metals and minerals sourcing and marketing company.
In a July corporate presentation, Wolf Managing Director Russell Clark said that most significant tungsten projects currently being developed are at least 18 months to two years away from commercial production. Global WO3 demand is currently about 90,000 mt/y and growing. Hemerdon will produce about 3.5% of forecast world demand in 2016. New capacity will be required to meet global demand.
Wolf Minerals is an Australian company, headquartered in Subiaco, Western Australia, and listed on the Australian and AIM stock exchanges.