Group 6 advances Climate Capital agreement to integrate renewables at Dolphin

In collaboration with privately held Climate Capital, Group 6 Metals (ASX:G6M) is evaluating the integration of a 7.5 megawatt solar panel array and a 5.5 megawatt battery storage system at the Dolphin tungsten mine in Tasmania.

Group 6, which has a market capitalisation of $30.12 million, says the solar power system would sit adjacent to the processing plant, which processed 24,422 tonnes at 88% plant utilisation in April.

Climate Capital has completed power modelling and an extensive site assessment, and both parties have expressed interest in negotiating a power purchase agreement under a build-own-operate model for project delivery. 

By reducing its reliance on diesel fuel, Group 6 says the project has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to a cleaner and more sustainable operation. 

The Climate Capital project is expected to reduce diesel power generation by up to 49% for the current site’s power demand. 

Group 6 also reports mining has exceeded forecast volumes at Dolphin’s open pit. The company produced 94 dry tonnes of concentrate in April at an average grade of 57.1% tungsten trioxide for 5,380 tonnes of tungsten trioxide. 

Further, 115.05 dry tonnes of concentrate at 57.38% tungsten trioxide was shipped in April, marking the company’s best month to date. 

As a result, the opportunity to recover ore tonnes outside the block model is considered “positive”, however, extraction of the higher-grade ore tonnes from the C-lens is expected to be delayed by 6 to 8 weeks. 

Managing Director and CEO Keith McKnight says the company has collected more valuable tungsten ore than forecast while working the outer areas of the open pit. 

“While this has caused a temporary delay in the mining sequence, the extra effort has resulted in a detailed understanding of the mine’s geology, giving us a lot of confidence in our mine forecast,” he says. 

“Excitingly, the high-grade C-lens is now accessible at -30 RL in the main Dolphin pit, and production drill assay results confirm the presence of high-grade ore in the mining blocks scheduled for June.”

The Dolphin geological team has also developed a comprehensive in-pit reconciliation methodology, continuously comparing actual results to the geological model. This process, which began since mining on the main Dolphin ore body six months ago, involves in-pit sampling, UV lamping, and production drillhole assaying. 

Recently, Group 6 extended production drillhole assaying to 20m in depth, which enables assessment of the ore block models prior to mining. 

McKnight adds that senior management, in consultation with equipment manufacturers, have uncovered opportunities to improve plant stability and increase recovery rates. 

“The upgrades are not considered major works but should significantly improve the performance of the plant at the same time as head grade from the mine is predicted to increase significantly.”

Meanwhile, Group 6 has been continuing stockpiling of low-grade ore in preparation for ore sorting. Ore sorting is expected to begin in the first half of 2025, subject to completing engineering and Feasibility Studies. 

McKnight says he is encouraged by the results from the ore sorting trials, as it indicates there may be an opportunity to sort the ore which would bring forward the production plan. 

“As higher grade ore from the open pit is prioritised as feed to the process plant, lower grade ore is being stockpiled for blending with the high-grade underground ore.”

The Dolphin tungsten mine lies near the town of Grassy on the south-east coast of King Island, the westernmost large island in the Bass Strait between Victoria and Tasmania. 

Write to Aaliyah Rogan at Mining.com.au   

Images: Group 6 Metals
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Written By Aaliyah Rogan
Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.