PERTH (miningweekly.com) – ASX-listed Gulf Manganese was expecting first manganese ore at its Kupang smelting facility, in Indonesia, during this month.
The company in November of last year rejected an initial 100 t parcel of high-grade manganese from Sulawesi-based PT Arfa Indo Sarana, after the ore failed to meet the required minimum grade.
However, the company on Monday said that with assistance from its geologists, and with the implementation of further field controls, a new parcel of export quality ore is expected at Kupang later this month.
Once this shipment has arrived, it will undergo a final quality analysis process before being cleared for export to Gulf customers.
“While delays in receiving our first trial shipment from Sulawesi have been somewhat frustrating, we are pleased to report that a parcel of 49% manganese ore is now scheduled to depart the port of Bau Bau for Kupang later this month,” said Gulf MD Hamish Bohannan.
“Security of our ore supply chain is of utmost importance and core to the foundations of our business, so we are pleased that our strict quality control processes have been successful in this respect. We have since worked closely with PT Arfa to implement several field control measures to improve ore quality and as a result, we are confident that this shipment from Sulawesi will meet our export quality specifications.”
Bohannan said that Gulf was also maintaining a dialogue with the Central Indonesian government to ensure a reliable, high quality ore supply to the Kupang smelting hub facility is established.
“While delays from within the government have provided challenges, significant progress recently made within the local governing body has been very encouraging,” he added.
Gulf at the end of 2018 implemented a three-pronged strategy aimed at establishing a pipeline of manganese ore to supply the Kupang operation, after a 12-month moratorium was placed on mining in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT).
The strategy included securing ore from NTT mines with Indonesian partners, purchasing ore from local miners, and purchasing ore from neighbouring provinces.
The Kupang smelting hub will contain at least eight furnaces built in stages over a five-year period. At full production, the first two furnaces will produce some 320 000 t/y of manganese ore to deliver some 155 000 t/y of premium-quality ferromanganese alloy.
Meanwhile, Gulf went into a trading halt on Monday as the company readied to make an announcement regarding the finalization of financing for the Kupang hub.