Group 6 proves Dolphin’s ‘world-class’ potential

Group 6 Metals (ASX:G6M) reports the average mining grades at the main Dolphin Tungsten Mine orebody have seen a sharp increase, exceeding grades forecasted for January and February 2024.

The $47.18 million market capitalisation company reports the average grade in February was 0.63% tungsten trioxide (WO3), resulting in higher average grade ore supplied to the process plant earlier than expected. This accordingly improves production of concentrate. 

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Keith McKnight says the latest results reaffirms that the Dolphin ore body is viewed as a ‘standout’ of known tungsten ore bodies in the western world.

“The geological team has established robust processes for grade control and is using this information to reconcile and recalibrate the geological model to ensure we maximise mining recoveries. 

We are already seeing the benefit of this by consistently recovering high-grade ore that is outside the geological model. 

We are fortunate to have such a world-class ore body that continues to exceed expectations, while focused on the main task at hand which is continuous operation of the plant and improving recoveries.”

Processing had a strong start in February running uninterrupted for the first 7 days until it was taken down for its weekly shutdown. For the period processing was ahead of forecast. 

Following the restart, vibration was observed in one of the ball mills which resulted in two days of downtime. Refurbishment of the drive assemblies was undertaken on both ball mills from 19-23 February after which the plant was restarted and has run stably since. 

Since implementing some changes to the plant configuration in early March, the process plant achieved a new 24-hour throughput record of 1,231 tonnes (dry), exceeding 50 tph (83% plant design throughput). 

Based on this performance there is a high degree of confidence that the plant can achieve the throughput volumes required to meet its production forecasts over the next 3-4 months. 

Plant recoveries are also improving which are now in the low to mid 50% range based on plant performance for March. With continuing high-grade ore supply and more consistent plant operation, it is expected that recoveries will continue to improve over the coming months. 

McKnight adds that since restarting in early January 2024, there have been several mechanical issues with the ball mills that caused unplanned downtime. Despite this, Group 6 Metals has been able to achieve the aforesaid improvement in ore grades.

“Gekko complete rectification of these issues which is expected to significantly improve the reliability of the mills. Now that these issues have been resolved, we anticipate a more reliably operating plant that can consistently achieve its processing targets.”

Group 6 has also compiled and dispatched suitable representative samples for sorter trials with ‘industry leading’ manufacturers of ore sorting equipment. 

Once the most effective sorting technology is identified, ore sorting can be implemented at a relatively modest capital and operating cost. 

Group 6 Metals is an Australian resources explorer, developer, and producer. The company’s Dolphin Mine lies on King Island, Tasmania. 

Ammonium paratungstate (APT) CIF Rotterdam prices have remained robust and stable at US$300 to $325 per MTU (10kg of WO3), which is where they have been since early November 2023. The APT prices FOB main ports China increased slightly by 1.67% on the lower end of the notation of U$305-$310 per MTU.

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.