JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – With mining having started at the new Gangra direct shipping ore (DSO) deposit in Liberia, global steel and mining major ArcelorMittal is taking another look at the lower grade resources at its Tokadeh mine.
The company has started a feasibility study to assess the optimal concentration solution for using the lower grade resources at Tokadeh, where the DSO ore has been depleted.
The study would contemplate a phased approach and would be completed by the end of 2018, ArcelorMittal said on Friday.
Prior to the 2014 and 2015 Ebola virus outbreak, which hit Liberia’s iron-ore industry hard, ArcelorMittal had planned a Phase 2 expansion at Tokadeh to 15-million tonnes a year of concentrated sinter fine ore. This phase was delayed in August 2014 and then reassessed following the rapid decline of iron-ore prices in the period that followed.
Instead, ArcelorMittal restarted drilling for DSO resource extensions in late 2015 and then proceeded to develop the Gangra deposit.
Meanwhile, the new DSO mine at Gangra would aid the group’s iron-ore production this year, with market-priced iron-ore shipments forecast to increase by 10% this year.
ArcelorMittal’s market-priced iron-ore shipments, which include sales to third parties and to the company’s steel producing segments, totalled 35.7-million tonnes in 2017.
Market-priced iron-ore shipments account for nearly 40% of the group’s total iron-ore production, with the balance produced on a captive, cost-plus basis.
ArcelorMittal increased first-quarter iron-ore shipments by 8.1% to 9.1-million tonnes, compared with 8.4-million tonnes in the fourth quarter, driven by higher shipments in Liberia and Ukraine. Year-on-year, shipments were 5.5% higher.
Own iron-ore production increased by 1.3% to 14.6-million tonnes, compared with 14.4-million tonnes in the fourth quarter.
The group reported net income of $1.2-billion in the March quarter, compared with $1-billion in the first quarter of 2017. Steel shipments rose by 1.7% on a quarter-on-quarter basis and 1.4% on a year-on-year basis to 21.3-million tonnes.