During the three months to the end of December 2016 the company secured planning permission for the Drakelands mine to operate for an additional 15 years, as well as permission for the processing plant to operate round the clock.
A tough pricing environment for the tungsten produced by Drakelands had led to some pressure on the balance sheet, but the company managed a successful restructure of senior debt payments, which have now been referred.
What’s more an additional bridge loan with major investor Resource Capital Fund VI has now been put in place.
Meanwhile, the implementation of performance enhancements at Drakelands continues.
"During the Quarter, progress in the mine and at the Mining Waste Facility at Drakelands has continued on track with reductions made to the waste truck fleet size to conserve cash,” said managing director Russell Clarke.
“The challenges in the processing plant are now better understood and an improvement plan is in progress with further equipment changes and modifications scheduled for the upcoming quarter.”
Perhaps his most interesting statement of all, however, was to do with tungsten pricing. “The global supply of tungsten concentrate is constrained,” he said, “and during the quarter there were indications that the historic methodology of determining tungsten concentrate prices relative to the APT price may not be fully representative of the current market."
The company also commented that demand for tungsten concentrate during the quarter was similar to the September 2016 quarter, with firm interest in Japan and Europe as a result of steady output from the automotive sector and aerospace sectors.
However, demand from other regions remained low as a result of soft conditions in the mining, oil and fracking industries and the economic slowdown in China.