PERTH (miningweekly.com) – ASX-listed Venture Minerals has temporarily suspended mining operations at its Riley iron-ore mine, in Tasmania, while it undertakes a review of the operation in order to identify cost efficiency measures.
The suspension of operations comes after the mine achieved its first iron-ore shipment of 45 632 t, with an average grade of 57.3% iron.
The shipment will be transported to a discharge port in China as designated by Venture’s offtake partner Prosperity Steel, which is one of the largest iron-ore traders in the world.
“Our inaugural shipment marks a significant milestone for Venture Minerals and is the culmination of considerable efforts by all stakeholders to successfully establish a resource base, secure environmental and transportation approvals, processing plant construction, commencement of mining and ore hauling and now first commercial iron-ore shipment,” said MD Andrew Radonjic.
However, Venture noted on Friday that given the declining prices for 62% iron, which coincided with an increase in the discount rate for Riley’s 57% iron-ore product and the continued volatile shipping market which had resulted from the congenstion in Chinese ports, the Covid-19 pandemic, and political impacts, shipping rates had tripled.
In response to this, Venture is now undertaking a full review of the Riley operations to identify cost efficiency measures to offset some of the external market volatility beyond the company’s control.
“Although the company believes that some of the external pressures in the market will likely only be temporary, Venture believes the best course of action is to temporarily suspend mining operations to preserve the reserve base while the company works through potential cost efficiencies and assesses the broader market volatility. During this period Venture will retain the Riley mining team so that when market conditions improve, the company can recommence operations immediately,” the miner said on Friday.
Radonjic noted that in the interim, Venture would be looking to ramp up production at its Mount Lindsay tin operation, given that tin was at record prices.
“The mine will supply environmentally sustainable electric vehicle metals/critical minerals in a globally recognised Tier One environmental, social and governance (ESG) hub, which provides superior environmental outcomes to the large majority of the world’s tin that is sourced from high-risk ESG jurisdictions.”