JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Aim-listed Bushveld Minerals’ Bushveld Vametco subsidiary put in a solid performance for the third quarter ended September 30, which was supported by a rising vanadium price that traded at an average of $39.40/kg.
Bushveld Minerals and Yellow Dragon Holdings in April jointly acquired Bushveld Vametco Alloys, the South African vanadium mining operation, near Brits, in the North West, from Evraz Group.
Bushveld Vametco sold 744 metric tonnes of vanadium (MVT) during the quarter – an increase of 6.7% from the June quarter.
“This performance enabled revenue to increase by 29%, and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation to increase by 69%, compared with June 2017,” Bushveld Minerals CEO Fortune Mojapelo noted in an operational update on Monday.
Vametco produced 669 MTV in the form of Nitrovan, a trademark product sold in major steel markets across the world, from its own magnetite concentrate during the September quarter.
Vanadium production decreased by about 16% compared with the June quarter, mainly as a result of an unplanned refractory repair to the kiln in September.
Vanadium production for the third quarter was 14% lower year-on-year as a result of no availability of vanadium-containing slag this year while the ore beneficiation upgrade was still under construction.
A two-week, planned maintenance period is scheduled for the December quarter.
Vametco has a current yearly plant capacity of about 3 035 MTV of Nitrovan and modified vanadium oxide.
Meanwhile, the first phase of the Vametco multiphased expansion project was achieved in the quarter, during which Vametco reached a yearly production run rate of 3 035 MTV.
The following two expansion phases will increase production to 3 750 MTV/y by June 2018 and to more than 5 000 MTV/y by the end of 2019.
The presence of an integrated platform will allow the development of downstream operations, as well as achieve product diversification, according to Bushveld.
“The completion of the expansion project will enhance Vametco’s existing competitive position in a structurally deficit market,” Mojapelo stated.