In its June quarterly production report, the group said run-of-mine feed into the plant reduced by 7% compared to the first three months of 2020, to total 253,256 tonnes, nonetheless, total contained tungsten and tin production increased by 0.5% to 47.6 tonnes with volumes helped by improved tin recovery.
It noted that tin production actually increased by 65% in the three month period, with a total of 20 dry tonnes produced. Tungsten volumes meanwhile reduced 17% to 2,756 tonnes with the temporary mine closure during lockdown and a weaker than expected plant performance.
"The second quarter was challenging with the State of Emergency shutdown in April, followed by constrained operations as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” Michael Masterman, W Resources chairman said in the statement.
“This was further impacted by operational challenges relating to EPC contractor equipment primarily in the jig and mill plant and in the concentrator rod mill. Short-term solutions including a replacement mill have been implemented and procurement of longer lead items initiated to further improve operations.”
He added: “While tin recoveries have been high, tungsten recoveries have lagged and extensive metallurgical and geometallurgical test work as well as plant modifications are underway with the aim to lift production.”
Masterman meanwhile noted that operational performance is seeing material improvement, with better utilisation and more operating hours, and he pointed out that the group's Spanish team has been strengthened.
Experienced director Pablo Neira is moving to an executive leadership role, running the Spanish operation, and former Anglo American man Danilo Diaz has been hired as plant manager.
“With a strengthened Spanish operations team, implementation of improvement programmes and advancement in metallurgical work to lift tungsten recoveries we now have the fundamentals in place to increase production," Masterman added.