Wolf Minerals (LON:WLFE ASX:WLFE) produced just over 17,600 mtus (176t) of tungsten concentrate from its Hemerdon mine in Devon in the last quarter.
Russell Clark, managing director, said teething issues at the new process plant had been addressed while blasting has started to access the harder, deeper material at the site near Dartmoor.
“The Mining Waste Facility construction is on schedule, using waste from the mine and DMS rejects from the processing plant.
“The building of the Lee Moor Road diversion, away from the base of the MWF [waste facility] has continued and is expected to accelerate as we move into the spring and summer months.”
Even so, the process plant issues have meant progress has been slower than expected since the mine was commissioned in September.
And this, along with a weak tungsten price, has seen Wolf arrange a £25mln equity standby facility with major shareholder RCF to bolster its balance sheet.
Wolf made the first repayment of the £75mln Senior debt finance facilities in January with the second repayment due this month. Senior debt finance facilities comprise a £70mln term loan facility and a £5mln bond facility.
Tungsten prices, though ,have started to pick up again. Average APT (concentrate) prices for the quarter were US$172/mtu, but since then the price has risen to between US$188 - 210/mtu.
“Demand for tungsten concentrate during the quarter was similar to the December quarter with sound interest in Japan and Europe from the automotive and aerospace sectors while demand from other regions remained low as a result of soft conditions in the mining, oil and fracking industries,” added Clark