Wolf Minerals Limited (ASX:WLF,AIM:WLFE) is an emerging tungsten producer focused on the redevelopment of the Hemerdon Ball tungsten and tin mine located in Devon, England. The property currently hosts a JORC resource of 401Mt @0.13%WO3 and 0.02% Sn including 117Mt of measured and indicated resource, making it the world’s third largest known tungsten deposit as described by the British Geological Survey.
The Company is developing the Hemerdon project into a low cost, large scale open pit mining operation – first production is expected in 2015. Wolf Minerals is managed by an experienced team of British and Australian mining professionals with an excellent track-record of development and operational success.
- Hemerdon Project – first production expected in 2015
- Capex of £123m , with £75m secured through senior debt
- Off-take agreements for 80% of production
- Third largest tungsten resource in the world
- DFS indicates solid EBITDA margins and low operating production costs
Hemerdon Tungsten Project, Devon, England
The Hemerdon Tungsten Project is located approximately 10 km north east of Plymouth, in Devon, England. The project site has access to existing infrastructure and is located near existing open pit clay mining operations. Wolf Minerals acquired the property in 2007 with a pre-existing planning permission valid until 2021.
An extensive tungsten and tin deposit was first discovered at Hemerdon in the 1860’s. The mineralization is characterized by sheeted greisen veining and stock works containing wolframite and cassiterite. The vein system is hosted within a dyke like granite body. The mineralization starts from the surface and is contained within the steeply dipping granite body flanked by metamorphosed sediments. Hemerdon was first developed in 1914 when the need for the metal in weaponry during World War I drove tungsten demand much higher. Commercial production continued sporadically until the mine’s closure in 1945. The total production from Hemerdon during the war period was limited and represents about 1 month’s production from the new operation.
Between 1977-1981, the project owner, AMAX, undertook a significant exploration program within the project area, completing 532 drill holes for 25,400m. The company also completed a comprehensive feasibility study and secured the current planning permission which is valid until 2021. AMAX left the project due to falling tungsten prices.
In 2007, Wolf acquired the project via an option agreement for a 40 year lease, and began validating the historical drill data and updating the feasibility study. An infill drill program was also carried out, upgrading the resource to the JORC standard showing an estimated 401Mt @0.13%WO3 and 0.02% Sn with 117Mt in the Measured and Indicated categories. In May 2011, the Company completed a Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) on the project, the results of which indicated robust economics based on a 3Mtpa operation over a 9.25 year life of mine. Production is estimated at approximately 350,000 mtu per annum of a wolframite tungsten concentrate with a grade of 65% WO3.
The total funds required to advance Hemerdon into production are estimated at £130 m. In November of 2012, Wolf secured £75 m though a senior debt facility and in March 2014 raised £99m in equity, to complete the funding package for the project.
In December 2013, the Company was granted its Waste Facility Environmental Permit, a key milestone in the environmental permitting process for its Hemerdon tungsten and tin project. The Waste Facility Environmental Permit is the final major permit required in the development of the project.
In February 2014 the 40 year lease for the project was finalised with the landowners and construction at the project commenced. An official “ground-breaking” ceremony, attended by many local stakeholders, was held in March 2014 to commemorate the start of construction activities.
Once in full commercial production, Wolf will seek permission to extend the pit boundaries to access additional ore.. This provides scope for an additional approximate five years’ ore production, increasing the life of mine to about 15 years. The current pit design allows for an open pit with a maximum depth of approximately 200 m. During its exploration work, the previous operator AMAX completed two exploratory drill holes that indicate continuity of mineralisation to a depth of approximately 400 m, with mineralisation still open at depth. Wolf is also reviewing options to extend the mine beneath the open pit to access this deeper ore through underground mining with a decline from the base of the open pit.
Wolf Minerals Limited is on the fast-track toward becoming the world’s next tungsten producer. The Company’s main focus is the redevelopment of the Hemerdon Ball tungsten mine located in Devon, England—the world’s third largest known tungsten deposit. Wolf Minerals is managed by an experienced team of British and Australian mining professionals.
Wolf Minerals plans to develop the Hemerdon project into a low cost, large scale open pit mining operation. A completed Definitive Feasibility Study confirms robust project economics including low operating production C1 cash costs forecast at just US$109/mtu.
John Hopkins – Non Executive Chairman, Australia based
- Experienced professional company director and chairman, legal background. Chairman Universal Coal PLC (ASX), Director Alara Resources Ltd (ASX), FAICD
Russell Clark – Executive Managing Director, Australia based
- Mining Engineer (RSM), 35 years of operating and development experience with Renison Goldfields, Normandy, Newmont, Grange Resources and Azimuth Resources. Previously MD and CEO of Grange Resources and Azimuth Resources. FAICD
Michael Wolley – Non Executive Director, Australia based
- Vice President, Minerals and Coal for Todd Corporation. Extensive engineering and operating experience with Mobil Oil, Lynas Corporation (COO). Director of Rutila Resources, Red Mountain Mining, Northcliff Resources, Straterra. MAICD, NZICD
Nick Clarke – Non Executive Director, UK based
- Mining Engineer (CSM) with over 40 years of mining experience in production, consulting and Corporate activity. Currently CEO of Central Asia Metals Plc (AIM), and previously Managing Director of Oriel Resources Plc (AIM), and Managing Director of the international mineral consultancy Wardell Armstrong International Ltd. He is a non-executive director of TSX listed Columbus Copper Corp.
Don Newport – Non Executive Director, UK based
- Banker with over 35 years experience, 25 years spent in the mining and resource sector. Previously head of Standard Bank’s Global Mining Finance Business and prior led the Barclays Capital Mining Sector Team.
Chris Corbett – Non Executive Director, Australia based
- Engineer (Mechanical & Mining) with extensive experience in mining, corporate business development and investment management. Currently a Principal with Resource Capital Funds, with prior experience gained at Byrnecut Mining Pty Ltd and Wesfarmers Limited. GAICD
Ronnie Beevor – Non Executive Director, Australia based
- Chartered accountant with 30 years experience in investment banking. Experienced company director and chairman. Chairman of Bannerman Resources Ltd (TSX,ASX) and EMED Mining Public Ltd (TSX,AIM) and Director of Bullabulling Gold Ltd, Unity Mining Ltd (ASX, AIM) and Riversdale Resources Ltd.
Richard Lucas – Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary, Australia based
- Chartered Accountant. Previously a Director at PWC. Commercial Manager at Lihir Gold and CFO of the Geotech Group.
Rupert McCracken – Project Manager, UK based
- Mechanical Engineer with over 25 years of global experience in the development, construction and commissioning of mineral processing projects. Previously an engineer with Bechtel, Transfield & Minproc Engineers, and a project manager for Comet Resources, Ticor South Africa, BHP Billiton and Resolute Mining.
Jeff Harrison – Operations Manager, UK based
- Mining Engineer (Nottingham, RSM) with over 35 years of global mining and mineral processing experience. Has been a senior manager for Imerys, the china clay operator in Devon and Cornwall and is well known to the local Plymouth community. He is a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the AusIMM and a member of the Institute of Quarrying.
Andy Bond – Mine Manager, UK based
- Geologist/Mining Engineer (Camborne) with over 29 years of mining industry experience in Devon and Cornwall.
Charlie Northfield – Process Manager, UK based
- Metallurgist (Camborne) with over 30 years of experience including managing process plants recovering tungsten and tin in Thailand and Zimbabwe.