North American Tungsten restarted its CanTung mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories in early October 2010 in response to recovering tungsten prices. The mine had been placed on care and maintenance in October 2009 as a result of low prices. The company also reported a probable reserve increase at CanTung to 1.7 million st from the previous probable reserve of 1 million st. The new reserve is sufficient to support production at current mill capacity for more than four years. The reserve estimate is based on a cut-off grade of 0.80% WO3 for the life of mine.
CanTung is located in the far west of the Northwest Territories, near the Northwest Territories-Yukon border. CanTung operations include an underground mine, a small open-pit, a process plant, waste rock dumps, a tailings storage facility, a diesel power plant, workshops, warehouses, administration buildings, a town site and single status accommodations, and an airstrip. The plant processes ore at a rate of 1,100 st/d. Processing is carried out by gravity and flotation circuits. Final products include a premium gravity concentrate, containing 65% WO3 and a flotation concentrate containing 47% WO3.
North American Tungsten used the down time at CanTung to review, revise, and upgrade operational systems in the mine and mill. The company is confident this effort will enhance operationing efficiency and reduce direct costs. The company also reports it has negotiated off-take agreements with several customers that will guarantee sales for a high proportion of its planned output.