PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Cobalt hopeful Winmar Resources was hoping to start production from its Luapula processing facility, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), by the third quarter of this year.
Winmar chairperson Jason Brewer told delegates at the Paydirt Battery Minerals conference that the start of production at Luapula would be subject to the company re-listing on the ASX.
Winmar last year struck a deal with African Holding Investment Company to acquire a 50% interest in the Luapula cobalt processing facility, which was constructed in 2014 at a capital cost of $80-million, is a conventional copper/cobalt leaching plant with a throughput capacity of 250 000 t/y of run-of-mine feed.
The plant, which was placed on care and maintenance in 2016, has the capacity to produce 12 000 t/y of high-grade concentrates, comprising a 30% to 40% cobalt hydroxide product and a 15% to 20% copper hydroxide product.
Winmar was informed by the ASX that the transaction constituted a change in the nature and scale of the company’s activities, necessitating shareholder approval and re-compliance with Chapters 1 and 2 of the ASX listing rules.
Brewer said on Tuesday that the company is now working to address the concerns raised by the ASX, including having an ore supply agreement in place to provide ore feed to the processing facility.
An independent audit into the Luapula facility found that it could be restarted at a capital cost of only $5.8-million, within a four- to six-month timeframe.
Brewer said that Winmar had secured immediate ore feed from nearby operations to enable the restart of processing facilities within the next four months, with binding agreements also executed with established Congolese operations to supply ore feed.
Winmar’s ultimate aim, however, was to acquire and develop new mines to ensure that the processing plant had sufficient ore feed to constantly operate at capacity, with the company already having agreed to acquire a series of exploration licences in close proximity to the processing facility.
Brewer on Tuesday said that Winmar was also undertaking financing discussions with major commodity trading groups, in an effort to secure long-term offtake arrangements.