Diversified miner Bushveld Minerals' Vametco subsidiary produced 270 t of vanadium in March – the highest monthly production rate achieved by the operation in the past 21 months.
This achievement comes on the back of improvements in mine production scheduling, vanadium grade in the kiln feed and an increase in the hourly feed rate to the kiln.
Vametco had, in the first quarter of this year, started undertaking several productivity initiatives that were identified as part of a transformation programme announced in January to enhance its production efficiency and, ultimately, achieve steady-state production of 3 400 t of vanadium in 2020.
“We ended the quarter on a very strong note, with the best monthly production output from Vametco in more than 21 months. This reflects the initial work completed under the transformation programme, announced earlier this year, which resulted in improvements in several key areas of the flow sheet, including scheduling, feed grade and overall plant recoveries.
"As the company’s revenue and earnings generator and, thus, engine for growth, it is imperative that Vametco operates to its full potential. It is for this reason that we initiated the transformation programme, designed to ensure that we maximise production throughput and minimise costs on the back of the improvements implemented by our motivated and fully engaged workforce," Bushveld Minerals CEO Fortune Mojapelo said in a statement issued on Wednesday.
Vametco's production for the first quarter reached 649 t, in line with the 657 t produced in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Guidance for the full-year has been set at 2 800 t to 2 900 t of vanadium – an increase of between 9% and 13% on production in 2018.
“This does not include any contribution from the proposed acquisition of the Vanchem plant, which we anticipate to complete as soon as July and no later than October.
“We are confident of steadily delivering on Vametco’s productivity targets and, with the recently announced conditional acquisition of the Vanchem vanadium project for $68-million, Bushveld Minerals is on a clear path to achieving its long-term capacity target of 10 000 t/y of vanadium. These initiatives will significantly enhance our competitive position in the vanadium market over the coming years,” said Mojapelo.
In addition to its vanadium interests, Bushveld Minerals also holds an interest in an integrated coal mining and power generation project in Madagascar, as well as in Aim-listed tin miner AfriTin Mining.