Australia’s Tiger Resources to fast-track plans to explore potential cobalt production at its African copper project

Embattled Australian copper producer, Tiger Resources, today revealed it would surge ahead with plans to explore potential cobalt production at its African copper mine.

Addressing the third and final day of the Paydirt 2016 Africa Down Under mining conference in Perth today, Tiger Resources Managing Director, Mr Michael Griffiths, released the positive results of an independent study the Company had commissioned to investigate the viability of producing cobalt at its Kipoi Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

On the back of those results, Tiger now plans to firm up capital costs and estimated operating costs at the mine as a matter of urgency.

Mr Griffiths said the study, by independent engineering company, Mintrix Pty Ltd, had identified two potential cobalt process routes for Kipoi – either by intermediate recovery (cobalt hydroxide) or refining.

“These processing pathways could be developed progressively or in stages,” Mr Griffiths said.

“Mintrex recommends the development of a cobalt hydroxide circuit producing a cobalt hydroxide intermediate product as a first step,” he said.

“The estimated capital costs of that model for a 1000 tonne per annum circuit is US$22 million (+/- 40%).

“Tiger now plans to scope a metallurgical test work program to confirm commercial process flow sheets and firm up the capital cost and estimate likely operating costs.

“This test work is expected to be completed by December 2016.”

Tiger Resources has been in the wars of late after posting a 32% fall in revenues and a loss of $37.3 million for the 2016 financial year.

The company produced 26,151 tonnes of copper cathode at Kipoi in 2016, and is undertaking debottlenecking works at the plant to increase nameplate production capacity to 32,500 tonnes per year.

 Those works are scheduled to be completed during the December 2016 quarter.

Commenting on the year ahead, Mr Griffiths said the company would focus on improving Kipoi’s operating performance to maximise incremental production gains.

Tiger would also complete the debottlenecking program at the site to reduce unit costs and increase copper cathode production capacity by 30 per cent, he said.

The company was also committed to introducing ongoing cost reduction initiatives to improve efficiencies and maintaining its high safety record.