Pering zinc project delayed

[] — FUNDING arrangements for re-opening the Pering lead/zinc mine have not yet been concluded because of tight conditions in the credit markets, according to Metmar CEO David Ellwood.

Metmar holds a 20% stake in Pering, which it bought for R80m from Minero Zinc which took over the mine from former owners BHP Billiton.

The Pering mine is about 140 km north of Kimberley near Reivilo. BHP Billiton closed it in 2002. Minero took an option to buy it in 2007, which it exercised in October 2008.

Minero carried out a feasibility study looking at building a 5 million tonnes (mt) per year dense media separation (DMS) plant and a 1.5mt/year concentrator plant in two phases.

Initial plans were to start building the first phase early in 2009, with commissioning expected towards the end of the year.

Minero announced last October it had secured the first mill “on an early delivery basis’ and it expected the build-up to 5mt/year would be completed by 2011. The re-opened mine would have a life of more than 13 years.

In Metmar’s interim results for the six months to end-August, released on Wednesday, Ellwood said: “Internal funding is being used to continue detailed design post-feasibility.

“A bulk sample programme is being investigated to define grade variation on the historical stockpiles. These investigations should be completed in 2009 for possible implementation early in 2010.

“The project will be commissioned 18 months after funding has been finalised. Production is expected to start at an annual rate of about 16,000t of zinc and 1,500t of lead.’

Metmar also holds an 11.6% stake in Kalahari Resources. This firm in turn owns 80% of Kalagadi Manganese, which is developing a manganese mine in the Northern Cape.

Ellwood said construction of the shaft and mine infrastructure at Kalagadi was under way and the project was running on target, despite “technical delays’.

He said: “The first shaft is more than 52m below surface, while the second is more than 32m down. The first manganese ore should be produced by end-May 2011.”

Ore from the mine will be railed to Coega for export.


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