By Hilary Mare
AFRICAN Tantalum (Aftan) has sent the fourth shipment of high-purity tantalum from its Namibia Tantalite Investment mine to a North American tantalum consumer and end-user of tantalum ore.
Aftan, which is a subsidiary of Aim-listed Kennedy Ventures, on Friday said it has made significant progress on further exploration at the mine, with the first 100 drill core samples sent to ALS Group as part of the process to better understand the Homestead and Lepidolite ore bodies.
Tantalum is a shiny, silvery metal which is soft when is pure. It is almost immune to chemical attack at temperatures below 150 degrees Celsius. Tantalum is virtually resistant to corrosion due to an oxide film on its surface. It is used in the electronics industry for capacitors and high power resistors. It is also used to make alloys to increase strength, ductility and corrosion resistance. The metal is used in dental and surgical instruments and implants, as it causes no immune response.
“Operations at the mine continue at pace and the business remains in robust health, with our shipments continuing to improve in quality, satisfying our customers’ stringent requirements,” Kennedy CEO Larry Johnson said in a statement.
Initial environmental studies have also begun with two environmental groups engaged to consider the effects of a new tailings dam to increase water capacity for the mine.
Meanwhile, Aftan has made further additions to its team based at the mine, hiring John Fahy as interim CFO and Odilon Ilunga as a metallurgist.
Last month, Confidente reported that Aftan has also installed larger slurry pumps with improved wear casings and impellors which will continue improving the mine’s run time efficiency and through put.
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 l 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) (holds operating assets and plant) and Tameka Shelf Company (holds title and licences to 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 the ramp up throughput to 10,500t/month on 2Q 2016. A second phase of expansion was done last year which included a specialised fines recovery plant.
In view of the attractive opportunities in tantalum, the Company is likely to initially focus on related projects located in Southern Africa.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015