Industry NEWS

20 August 2019

AfriTin produces first tin concentrate at Uis Tin Mine

AfriTin Mining has produced first tin concentrate at its flagship Uis Tin Mine in Namibia after completing the Phase I Pilot Plant last month.

The company will now focus on ramping up production at the plant to reach the planned capacity of 500,000tpa of ore.

By the end of the year, the plant will be capable of producing nearly 60t of tin concentrate a month.

AfriTin Mining CEO Anthony Viljoen said: “The support received from the Namibian government and the community of Uis has proven invaluable and contributed to getting the project to the point it is at today.

“Having produced first tin concentrate, concluded an offtake agreement and secured a working capital facility for the ramp-up phase of the Pilot Plant, AfriTin is on track to create the first revenue-generating, conflict-free asset in our portfolio.”

In a separate development, AfriTin concluded a one-year offtake agreement with Thailand Smelting and Refining (Thaisarco) for tin concentrate produced at the Uis Tin Mine.

Under the terms of the agreement, the company will be able to sell its tin concentrate to Thaisarco and generate revenue for the next 12 months with an option to extend the contract.

Thaisarco managing director Andrew Davies said: “We are delighted to support AfriTin with a new offtake agreement for responsibly sourced tin concentrates. These concentrates will be smelted and processed into quality tin ingots, granules, solder, high purity products and powders.”

The key terms of the offtake agreement state that the produced concentrate will be shipped to Thaisarco in Phuket, Thailand from the port of Walvis Bay.

AfriTin will receive a payment from Thaisarco on the basis of actual tin content in the concentrate per its analysis at the lowest LME price, less treatment and impurity charges.

Last October, AfriTin signed an agreement to purchase the entire issued share capital of Tantalum Investment (TI) from Jan Jonathan Serfontein.

In April last year, the company signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Switzerland-based firm MRI Trading (MRI) for an artisanal buying operation for tin concentrate in Namibia.

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20 August 2019

Avesoro Resources receives non-binding acquisition proposal from AJL

Avesoro Resources has received a non-binding acquisition proposal from its controlling shareholder Avesoro Jersey (AJL) for all shares it does not already own.

The company said that AJL plans to acquire the company’s shares at £1 ($1.21) a share.

Currently, AJL holds nearly 72.9% of Avesoro’s common shares and its recent proposal is supported by holders of an additional 12.9% of common shares.

The non-binding acquisition proposal highlights that AJL has no access to ore at the New Liberty Gold Mine in Liberia until early September. This month, gold shipments from the mine are expected to be less than 1,000oz.

Before receiving the acquisition proposal from AJL, Avesoro negotiated a working capital facility with the company to provide short term liquidity.

Aversoro’s revised 2019 production guidance stands between 180,000oz and 200,000oz of gold.

Last month, the company’s subsidiaries Burkina Mining and Netiana Mining signed an open pit mining contract with Orkun Group at the Youga gold mine. The mining programme is based on the excavation of approximately 800,000 to 900,000 bank cubic metres (BCM) of material per month.

In June, Avesoro announced the restart of mining processing and operations at the Youga Gold Mine in Burkina Faso. In the same month, it also reported a 29% increase in its mineral resource and mineral reserve estimate at Youga.

In February 2016, Avesoro acquired Youga from Endeavour Mining for $25.3m.

Avesoro is a gold producer and developer, operating two gold mines in West Africa.

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20 August 2019

Western Australia announces new guidance for mine site rehabilitation

The Western Australia (WA) Government and agencies has collaborated with science experts and a wide range of industry representatives on a new mine closure criteria for mine sites across the region.

The partnership has announced a new guidance for the rehabilitation of mine sites in WA.

Commenting on the new guidance, Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said: “The new Western Australian guidance for mine closure is a great example of government and industry working together to deliver better rehabilitation outcomes for our state.

“It provides industry with greater clarity and consistency in the development of mine closure plans across different locations and commodities. Effective mine closure is critical to ensure the long-term environmental sustainability of the industry.

“Working together with industry to improve regulation and regulatory practice is a key part of the McGowan Government’s Streamline WA initiative.”

The guidance, ‘A framework for developing mine-site completion criteria in Western Australia,’ outlines environmental criteria for mine operators to demonstrate successful and sustainable rehabilitation of their site after mining.

Developed by the Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute, the new guidance is endorsed by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.

Though the new guidance mostly targets the resources sector, it can also be used by the other industries as guidance for undertaking ecological restoration.

In February last year, the government unveiled a new code of practice regarding emergency management at mines in the state.

The code was issued by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, and serves as a practical guide on emergency management systems used in surface and underground mines, as well as quarries.

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19 August 2019

Ganfeng Lithium increases stake in Caucharí-Olaroz project

Chinese firm Ganfeng Lithium has closed a previously announced transaction to increase its interest in the Caucharí-Olaroz lithium brine project in Jujuy, Argentina from 37.5% to 50%.

Ganfeng Lithium Netherlands subscribed for new shares of Minera Exar, the holding company for the Caucharí-Olaroz project.

Minera Exar will use the $160m raised from the transaction to fund the project’s construction. The remaining 50% interest in the project is owned by Lithium Americas.

In October last year, Ganfeng Lithium completed the acquisition of a 37.5% interest in Minera Exar from Chilean miner SQM.

Lithium Americas president and CEO Jon Evans said: “We are delighted to complete the project investment with our 50/50 joint venture partner, Ganfeng Lithium, building on our long history of working together.

“At Caucharí-Olaroz, construction activities continue to proceed on schedule with over 600 employees and contractors mobilised at site.”

“With the Project Investment complete, we have further strengthened our liquidity and expect to release the results of a feasibility study on an expanded initial production capacity for the project of 40,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of battery-grade lithium carbonate in September 2019.”

The $160m project investment included an advance payment of $57m prior to closing.

In a separate development, Lithium Americas amended an offtake agreement with BCP Innovation (Bangchak).

As per the terms of the revised agreement, if an expansion of the initial production capacity to 40,000tpa is approved, Bangchak will be entitled to buy an additional 3,500tpa of lithium carbonate.

The project is located around 270km east of SQM’s Salar de Atacama brine operation.

With current targeted production of 25,000tpa, the Caucharí-Olaroz project is expected to start production by the end of next year.

In May this year, Ganfeng Lithium agreed to buy a 29.99% equity interest in Bacanora Lithium.

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19 August 2019

Expansion at Proyecto Riotinto reaches mechanical completion

Cyprus-based Atalaya Mining has announced that its 15Mtpa Proyecto Riotinto expansion project in Spain has reached full mechanical completion.

The new semi-autogenous grinding (SAG) mill, primary crusher and all associated infrastructure are ready to start receiving ore, as well as ramp-up production during wet commissioning.

The additional electricity supply for the expansion project is also expected to come on stream during the third quarter of the year.

The company earlier reported completion of the new flotation and concentrate handling areas that are currently operating normally.

Atalaya anticipates that the expanded plant will reach its nameplate capacity of 15Mtpa by December.

Atalaya Mining CEO Alberto Lavandeira said: “This expansion is a milestone for Atalaya. It will increase copper production, improve operational efficiencies, reduce maintenance requirements and lower operating cash costs for the company.”

In December 2017, the company announced its intention to proceed with the 15Mtpa expansion plan at Proyecto Riotinto.

Through the plan, Atalaya intended to upgrade processing facilities to enhance copper production to around 50,000t-55,000t per annum.

In October last year, Atalaya reportedly looked for buyers for a takeover. The company signed an agreement with the Bank of Montreal, a Canadian investment bank, to assist with the proposed divestment.

Atalaya is a mining and development group that produces copper concentrates and silver by-product at its 100% owned Proyecto Riotinto site.

Additionally, it has a phased, earn-in agreement for up to 80% ownership of the brownfield copper project which is in the permitting stage.

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19 Auguat 2019

Ora Banda to raise funding for exploration programmes in WA

Ora Banda Mining is set to raise A$18.5m ($12.5m) towards the development of its regional exploration and high-grade gold resource and reserve definition programmes, as well as fund an early stage processing plant works in the Eastern Goldfields region of Western Australia (WA).

The placement was undertaken at an issue price of 18.5 cents per fully paid ordinary share to raise $12.5m through the issuance of 100 million new shares.

Backed by both existing Ora Banda shareholders and new investors, the placement introduces the company to a number of new institutional shareholders.

Ora Banda managing director David Quinlivan said: “Ora Banda now has a clear and well-funded pathway to execute the full resource and reserve definition drill out and feasibility study programme set out in the company’s re-capitalisation prospectus in the most efficient manner possible.

“We are also looking forward to significantly expanding our exploration efforts at Davyhurst and are confident that this capital will materially improve the positioning of Ora Banda for delivery of a Definitive Feasibility Study early next year, as well as ensuring we can move quickly into production following completion of the DFS.”

The proceeds from the placement will be used towards the company’s reserve and exploration programmes described in its prospectus dated 30 April.

The funds will also be used towards acceleration of the resource and reserve definition programme for the company’s five major development prospects.

Part of the funds will be used towards progressing the re-location of the Riverina Station pastoral lease homestead and advancing the critical design necessary to restart the 1.2Mtpa processing plant at Davyhurst.

The funding will also be used to fast-track exploration at various high-grade high priority gold exploration targets within Ora Banda’s 1,336km² land package.

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16 Auguat 2019

Mastermyne agrees to acquire Wilson Mining Services

Australian company Mastermyne has signed a conditional agreement to buy all shares of Wilson Mining Services (WMS) for an upfront consideration of $7.6m.

The company plans to buy WMS for $3.8m in cash and the remaining will be issued as ordinary shares in Mastermyne.

The remaining consideration is expected to be supplemented in contingency payments, upon performance of WMS over a preceding three-year period.

Mastermyne CEO Tony Caruso said: “WMS is a highly specialised underground business that has a niche service offering predominately in the longwall ground consolidation area.

“This business pioneered the introduction of phenolic cavity fill and injection products which has greatly improved the safety and productivity of longwalls in Australia.

“WMS and Mastermyne have a long history of working together to provide chemical injection and installation support to the Australian underground coal sector and the acquisition of WMS fits well with our growth strategy of providing niche, value adding underground services to our existing clients.”

Following the acquisition of WMS, Mastermyne will be able to enhance its suite of services, all of which are essential for the continuation of underground longwall and mining operations.

The acquisition is expected to generate annual revenues of around $30m, at an EBITDA margin in the range of 10%-14%.

Mastermyne will fund the cash part of the acquisition from its available cash.

The transaction is subject to satisfaction of conditions and is expected to conclude by the end of this month.

In 2014, Mastermyne signed a deal to acquire Diversified Mining Services (DMS) for $20m.

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16 Auguat 2019

Nanotron and Meglab to partner on mine safety and production

Sensera’s fully-owned subsidiary Nanotron has agreed to partner with mining technology company Meglab to improve safety and productivity in the industry.

Under the partnership, Meglab will incorporate Nanotron’s location-awareness technology as a key component of its web-based Imagine platform, a modular mine management system.

The platform provides real-time visibility of the underground mine environment.

Nanotron’s swarm bee modules enhance Imagine’s functionality by enabling users to efficiently track the location and status of mining equipment and workers, as well as dangerous proximity to other vehicles or machines.

Through real time location monitoring of workers, vehicles and machines throughout a mine site, the platform can provide smart ventilation automation and mine evacuation support.

It also facilitates lamp assignment, face reports, as well as calls for assistance and collision awareness, resulting in a more efficient work environment.

Meglab president Louis Valade said: “We chose Nanotron’s location-aware IoT technology because it is light-weight, yet powerful, long range and autonomous.

“It provides robust radio coverage in harsh mining environments. Nanotron’s solutions have proven to be reliable and efficient and can smoothly scale to the needs of any mining application.”

Nanotron CEO Dr Jens Albers said: “Meglab is an expert in mining solutions, and the fact they have chosen Nanotron’s technology for their Imagine tracking platform is a valuable vote of confidence.”

Introduced in 2016, Imagine has continued functionality over successful deployments in mines across the US, Mexico and Canada.

The partnership with Meglab will enable Nanotron to gain incremental swarm bee module sales. It aims to provide location-awareness driven intelligence to mines throughout North America.

The company’s swarm bee modules are available either with a Chirp or UWB radio technology, with a common pin-out.

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