By Business Reporter
AFRICAN Tantalum has sent its third shipment of high-purity tantalum from the Namibia Tantalite Investment (NTI) Mine to its customer, a global North American tantalum consumer and end-user of tantalum ore, with a fourth shipment currently being tested by a third-party before being sent.
Aftan, which is a subsidiary of AIM-listed Kennedy Ventures, further highlighted that drilling had started on two exploration campaigns in the Homestead and Lepidolite locations, to evaluate further resource potential around the NTI Mine.
Over 400m have been completed, with cores being cut and organised to be sent out to ALS Laboratories before year-end. Aftan has employed a second geologist, experienced in exploration, to aid this programme.
In line with its production requirements defined by its customer, Aftan will continue to upgrade the NTI Mine with the successful installation of a dam under the thickener, to capture water from the mine’s cyclone, re-circulated back into the system.
Aftan has also installed larger slurry pumps, with improved wear casings and impellors, which will continue to improve the mine’s run-time efficiency and throughput.
Bulk diesel tanks have also been installed, with first diesel delivery expected before year-end, while the company added two more boreholes, additional pumps, solar panels and two 60 000-litre dams to the plant, which will be installed in the near future.
As Aftan continues to consider future-proofing the mine and meeting its production ramp-up schedule, it has contracted a third-party environmental expert to start the process of achieving certified rights, to bring water from the Orange River, as well as to establish certification to move potentially hazardous materials.
Kennedy Ventures currently holds a 75 percent stake in Aftan, which in turn holds two wholly-owned subsidiaries, Namibia Tantalite Investments (NTI) (which holds the operating assets and plant) and Tameka Shelf Company (which holds the title and licences to the Tantalite Valley).
Aftan is a dedicated tantalum company. Through its subsidiaries, the company manages and operates the Tantalite Valley Mine (TVM) in southern Namibia, near Warmbad in the Karas district.
TVM is already in production and Aftan’s current focus is on ramping up throughput to 10 500 tons per month on 2Q 2016. A second phase of expansion was planned for 2017, which included a specialised fines recovery plant.
-Additional reporting by Mining Weekly
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