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Wolf Minerals processes first ore at Hemerdon project

Wolf Minerals knocked another milestone over - as it said first ore had been put through the processing plant at the Hemerdon tungsten and tin mine in Devon. It means the group's goal of delivering Great Britain's first new metal mine for 45 years will shortly become a reality, it said.

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Hemerdon will be Britain's first new metal mine for 45 years

Wolf Minerals (LON:WLFE) knocked another milestone over - as it said first ore had been put through the processing plant at the Hemerdon tungsten and tin mine in Devon.

It means the group's goal of delivering Great Britain's first new metal mine for 45 years will shortly become a reality, it said.

With this so-called "wet commissioning", the firm remains on track to deliver initial concentrates to customers in the third quarter of 2015.

Russell Clark, managing director at Wolf, said: "After an incredibly busy 15 months, we have put the first ore into the plant at the Hemerdon project on schedule.

"From this point, GR Engineering will continue commissioning and is scheduled to hand the plant across to Wolf in August."

He added: "We remain on target to deliver initial concentrates to our offtake partners in the third quarter this year."

The build of the processing plant only began in March this year and among the major work achieved in the last 15 months was the stockpiling of 100,000 tonnes of ore and completing the first stage of the mine waste facility.

Earlier this month, finnCap analyst Martin Potts said: "The company offers exposure to a tungsten mining business with imminent first production and cash flow."

The broker has a 'buy' stance.

“We forecast revenues to rise from zero in the present year to A$97.4mln (£49mln) in 2016 and A$182.7mln (£93mln) in 2017.

“Profits will rise similarly, with 2017 being effectively steady state in terms of our model."

At full capacity, Drakelands, located 10km north of Plymouth, will produce more than 4,500 tonnes of WO3 (tungsten) in concentrate per year - around 3.5% of global demand.

The company is expected to be significantly profitable at current tungsten prices (US257/mtu) – although prices are expected to strengthen considerably in the second half of 2015 and beyond.

Prices will be driven upwards by rising global demand, the analysts reckons, particularly within China, versus constrained supply.

Apart from Drakelands, there are no other tungsten mines currently under construction, although W Resources (LON:WRES) and Ormonde Mining (LON:ORM) hope to kick-start projects in Spain by the end of this year.

The metal has a high melting temperature and is used to make steel alloys and cutting tools.

Quick facts: Wolf Minerals Limited

Price: 0.035 AUD

ASX:WLF
Market: ASX
Market Cap: $38.18 m
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Demise of Wolf Minerals Ltd 'a blow for UK mining' - Alastair Ford

Mining Capital's Alastair Ford discusses the collapse this week of Wolf Minerals Limited (LON:WLFE) (ASX:WLF). Ford says what really did it for Wolf was simply that the economics of production at Hemerdon never really stacked up. He adds that its major investor RCF will now be staring...

on 12/10/18

2 min read