Mineral Deposits has reported that the ramp-up at Grande Côte mineral sands mine in Senegal, West Africa is progressing well, and the first ilmenite shipment is expected in September.
Following construction completion earlier this year, significant advancement in the ramp‐up of mining operations at Grande Côte has been made since the effective commencement in early‐May. “Whilst it is expected to take up to 12 months to reach full production rates on a steady state basis, the progress achieved in the first few months of mining has been pleasing,” Mineral Deposits said in a statement.
Operational update for Grande Côte mine
Feed rates through the Wet Concentrator Plant will remain restricted as tails are pumped through land‐based lines off the mine path to enable the size of the dredge pond to be increased. Processing through the Mineral Separation Plant commenced in June, with more than 30 000 tonnes of mined Heavy Mineral Concentrate being processed through the Wet Plant for the production of over 21 000 tonnes of magnetic concentrate and nearly 3 000 tonnes of non‐magnetic concentrate.
More than 12 000 tonnes of magnetic concentrate was also processed through the Ilmenite Circuit of the Dry Plant, with 11 463 tonnes of ilmenite produced. Following a further two week campaign in early July, the Ilmenite Circuit is now fully operational at nameplate throughput, producing both 54 percent TiO 2 and 58 percent TiO 2 ilmenite to specification.
The first non‐magnetic concentrate was processed through the Primary Circuit of the Dry Plant in mid‐July, giving rise to the first production of zircon. The first ilmenite shipment is expected in September, giving rise to the commencement of revenue from Grande Côte.
Tyssedal remains profitable despite market conditions
Mineral Deposits Norwegian operation Tyssedal, despite tough market conditions, has remained profitable delivering EBITDA of $11.3 million in the first half of 2014.
Tyssedal’s revenue of $77.8 million in the first half of 2014 was 19 percent lower than the same quarter in 2013, attributable to 28 percent lower prices for titanium slag (partly offset by higher titanium slag sales volumes) and 12 percent lower sales volumes of high purity pig iron (combined with marginally lower pricing).
Underlying EBITDA of $11.3 million in the first half of 2014 was 60% lower than in 2013, due to the lower revenue, partly offset by a slight reduction in costs.
Mineral Deposits’ 50 percent share of TiZir’s underlying profit in the first half of 2014 was $1.8 million, compared to $11.2 million in 1H 2013, attributable to a reduced contribution from Tyssedal, as well as receipt of an $11.4 million (pre‐tax) insurance claim by Tyssedal in the first half of 2013.
TiZir’s cash flow from operations in the first half of 2014 was negative $13.2 million, attributable to the lower earnings from Tyssedal as well as tax payments related to Tyssedal’s 2013 earnings; compared to positive $75.7 million in the first half of 2013 which comprised higher earnings and a substantial reduction in working capital.
TiZir’s capital expenditure moderated in the first half of 2014 with the completion of construction of Grande Côte in the first quarter. All expenditure associated with Grande Côte continued to be capitalised during the first half of 2014.
TiZir is well‐funded with $74 million of cash, $48 million undrawn on the Tyssedal working capital facility, and discussions regarding a further $50 million facility tied to Grande Côte well advanced.
Mineral Deposits has cash of $29 million and no debt.
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