Tungsten West awarded processing permit

News Analysis




Tungsten West awarded processing permit

Tungsten West received its final permit from the Environmental Agency for restarting operations at the Mineral Processing Facility at its Hemerdon Mine Project in Devon, UK.

Tungsten West, the mining company focused on restarting production at the Hemerdon tungsten and tin mine in Devon, UK, announced that it has been granted an operating permit from the Environment Agency for its Mineral Processing Facility.

The mining and processing operations have been approved based on specific guidelines agreed upon by Tungsten West and the Environmental Agency. Many of the details regarding these guidelines are unknown. However, it is clear that the mining and processing operations comply with environmental and human health standards set by the Environmental Agency.

The permit allows Tungsten West to proceed with an updated feasibility study for the Hemerdon Project. The company has already completed two feasibility studies for the project, and the current one will focus on optimising the capital expenditure required to restart operations and the resulting operational costs. Tungsten West has appointed Mining Plus to conduct the feasibility study, which is expected to be completed in the second half of 2024.

Tungsten West have provided production guidelines for mining and processing operations at Hemerdon.  They expect the facility to have a nameplate throughput capacity of 3.5Mtpy at full ramp-up. It is anticipated to yield an average of 2,900tpy of WO3 in concentrate and 310tpy of tin in concentrate. Tungsten West will handle the processing operations, while mining operations will be outsourced to Hargreaves (UK) Services.

According to Alistair Stobie, Tungsten West CFO and Interim CEO, “The issuing of the permit to operate the Mineral Processing Facility is another significant step in derisking the recommencement of production at Hemerdon. It allows the Company to progress its financing discussions and fast track its updated Feasibility Study, with the aim of restarting operations in 2026.”

The permit marks an important milestone for the Hemerdon Project, as Tungsten West aims to commission and begin production by 2026. According to Project Blue, global tungsten demand will increase by 1.3% CAGR over the next decade. China will remain the world's biggest producer but several Western nations have imposed legislation that will limit tungsten imports from China (and Russia). Given the critical importance of tungsten to Western consumers, this situation creates an opportunity for alternative sources of supply. Tungsten West’s Hemerdon Project is one of several projects that could benefit from this opportunity. Hemerdon could fulfil at least 10% of European and North American demand at full production, representing a step towards reducing dependence on Asian supply.