Sierra Rutile's lease in Sierra Leone is the world’s largest known deposit of natural rutile, and has been mined since the early 1960s

Sierra Leone – AIM-listed rutile miner Sierra Rutile reports that construction of its Ganagama mineral sands project in Sierra Leone is on schedule and budget, having commenced construction of phase 1 of the project during the second quarter.

Major long-lead equipment procurement has also been completed as planned, the company said in a statement.

The project will be developed in two phases, each a separate 500 tph operation.

Sierra Rutile's lease in Sierra Leone is the world’s largest known deposit of natural rutile, and has been mined since the early 1960s
Sierra Rutile’s lease in Sierra Leone is the world’s largest known deposit of natural rutile, and has been mined since the early 1960s

Phase 1, which was awarded to global engineering company DRA, will be constructed over a 12-month period, with first production targeted for the end of the second quarter of 2016.

Meanwhile, Sierra Rutile also recently completed a positive scoping study for its long-term Sembehun dry mine project.

The scoping study highlighted a well-advanced, long-term dry mining project with strong economics.

While work has commenced on a prefeasibility study and is expected to be completed in the third quarter, the company reports that no construction decision will be required until at least 2017.

On track to meet production

Sierra Rutile remains on target to meet full-year rutile production guidance of 120 000 to 130 000 t. Average monthly rutile production in May and June of this quarter of 10 500 t represents 126 000 t on an annualised basis.

This was achieved from the rutile miners Lanti dry mine and Lanti dredge mine, which benefitted from their maintenance programs undertaken during the first and second quarter, respectively.

Sierra Rutile believe that the planned maintenance positions both operations for strong operating performance in the second half of the year.

In addition, Lanti dry mine is planned to transition to higher-grade areas which will significantly increase its rutile production relative to the first half of the year.

Rutile production from contract mining of the Mogbwemo tailings is also expected to improve as ramp-up continues to target levels.

Ebola update

While there have been no Ebola cases at Sierra Rutile’s operations, a safe work environment continues to be a first priority and all Ebola-mitigation measures remain in place at Sierra Rutile’s operations.

“Q2 2015 has been a very active and successful quarter with rutile production of 29 933 t and direct operating cash cost of $527/t.

“We have also strengthened our management team substantially with the appointment of a new COO and CFO. Our asset base positions us for a strong operating performance as we enter the second half of the year on-target to meet full-year guidance,” says Sierra Rutile CEO John Sisay.

Top Stories:

Rio Tinto Kitimat smelter: Modernised facility begins production

New South Wales environmental policy change will cost jobs and hurt mining

Chinese player develops appetite to dominate global tungsten market supply