Exploration and development firm Premier African Minerals plans to start low-cost production of tungsten at its flagship RHA project located along the Kamativi tin belt in Matabeleland North by the end of 2014.This follows a successful technical assessment of the viability of the site, envisaged to produce 192 000 tonnes of tungsten per annum over the six-year life of the mine.
Premier African Minerals has mineral projects located in Western and Southern Africa.Tungsten and its alloys are used to make filaments for electric lamps and television tubes, as electrical contacts, heating elements among other industrial applications.
Tungsten is a metallic chemical element classified among the transition metals of the periodic table of elements and is well known for its strength and durability.
Premier African Minerals said underground mine development would start once open-cast production had started.
"In line with this we are in discussions with potential funders for the project and possible off-take partners as one route to fast track RHA towards production in the near term with a target production of late 2014," it said.
"The company aims to commence open-pit production development in late 2014, with underground mining development to commence thereafter to fulfils the project's projected six-year life of mine."
Meanwhile, Premier chief executive Mr George Roach said the resource endowment at the project was enough to enable them to recoup their investment. Mr Roach said the latest assessment had further highlighted the attractiveness of the project.
"With a revised net present value of US$120 million (up from US$118 million previously estimated) and a significantly increased internal rate of return before tax of 378 percent now projected, coupled with the low-capex nature of the project with estimated costs of US$13,5 million, excellent infrastructure, low-strip ratio and a relatively simple processing route expected, we approach the next stages of development with confidence," he said.