PERTH (miningweekly.com) – ASX-listed Jupiter Mines has completed a concept study on the expansion of its Tshipi Borwa manganese mine, in South Africa, with a feasibility study expected to start shortly.
Jupiter on Tuesday said that the feasibility study will be based on the production of 4.5-million tonnes, a 50% increase on the current 3-million tonnes a year.
The Tshipi mine exported a company record-breaking 3.51-million tonnes of manganese ore in the 2019 financial year and production has been steadily growing over recent years. It has the flexibility to scale production to between 3-million and 3.6-million tonnes a year.
Subject to the completion of the feasibility study and commercial process, which is expected to take one year, the Tshipi operation could reach steady-state exports of 4.5-million tonnes within three years.
Jupiter told shareholders that production profiles exceeding the base case scenario were explored as part of the concept study, with the infrastructure required for the base case expansion significantly less complex and involving a shorter timeframe to implement, while also having a lower capital requirement, and less reliance on road transport.
Some of the major constraints to increasing output beyond the base case scenario included potential mining constraints, the lack of water in the area, and logistical constraints in the medium term.
Infrastructure optionality will be considered for substantial production upside beyond the base case scenario, which will be leveraged on in future, should the constraints and market dynamics change.
Jupiter has estimated that the total capital required for the expansion would be around R1.025-billion. This capital cost will provide for some of the infrastructure required for the production optionality.