A feasibility study of Pilbara Minerals’ advanced Tabba Tabba tantalum project near Port Hedland indicates “robust” project viability through low capital and mining costs.
The company is now on track to join the ranks of junior miners, with first production forecast for the third quarter of 2014, subject to project funding.
The study defined an initial mine life of 19 months producing about 365,000 pounds of tantalum pentoxide (Ta2O5), within a minimum 5 per cent Ta2O5 concentrate, delivering earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of $16 million.
Pilbara Minerals chief executive and chief geologist John Young said completion of the feasibility study was a significant milestone.
“Based on the results of the study, Pilbara Minerals and its joint venture partner, Nagrom, intend to fast-track the development of the Tabba Tabba Project, subject to the completion of project financing,” Mr Young said.
“Tabba Tabba will deliver a steady source of cash flow for at least the next two to three years, with potential for future growth from a number of sources, including the development of the nearby Strelley Project.”
Pilbara Minerals entered into a 50/50 joint venture agreement with world renowned metallurgical and gravity processing specialists Nagrom in October 2013, to evaluate, develop and mine Tabba Tabba.
The feasibility study, which proposed mining and processing of 118,000t per annum of ore from a single pit, estimated projected payback of the entire capital cost in six months.
The pre-start-up capital cost is estimated at $3.9 million, of which about $1.5 million has been spent to date.