Group 6 Metals (ASX: G6M) is gearing up to ship the first tungsten concentrate from its wholly-owned Dolphin project in the first quarter of next year.
The company made the formal decision to develop Dolphin in November last year after it secured its $88 million financing target and shareholder approval.
In readiness for the official development decision, Group 6 had already placed orders and paid deposits for equipment with long lead times.
As part of this, Group 6 has overcome supply chain challenges with a bulldozer anticipated later this month – paving the way for earthworks to “rapidly proceed” followed by civil works for constructing the plant.
Mining at Dolphin is scheduled to begin in November this year, with plant commissioning to start in December. It is then expected the first tungsten concentrate shipment will occur in March next year.
Dolphin tungsten project
Dolphin is located on Tasmania’s King Island and has a current reserve of 4.43 million tonnes at 0.92% tungsten trioxide.
According to Group 6 executive chairman Johann Jacobs, Dolphin hosts the highest-grade tungsten deposit of significant size in the Western world.
The company plans to ship about 275,000 metric tonne units of tungsten trioxide concentrate a year.
The Australian Government has designated tungsten as a critical mineral and the Dolphin project has received backing from the Tasmanian Government in several forms including a $10 million loan last year.
This was followed up last month with the state government providing a $2 million grant to upgrade a 11kv transmission line to the project.
Without the transmission line, Dolphin would be solely powered by diesel generates.
“The ability to connect to the King Island grid supply (which incorporates a high percentage of renewable energy) is a fantastic result from both a costs and an environmental perspective,” Mr Jacobs said.
“The company is extremely grateful for both the direct and indirect support it has received from the Tasmanian Government in developing the historic Dolphin tungsten mine on King Island.”
Mr Jacobs has previously pointed out that tungsten is vital to national security and has been classified as critical by many countries and regions.
China dominates tungsten production and accounts for more than 80% of global output.
The country has frequently exercised its power over critical mineral supply chains, which has prompted other governments to invest in developing critical mineral projects in their own back year.
“We see a close alignment between the company’s development objectives, the Tasmanian Government’s interest in maintaining and growing both Tasmanian jobs and export revenue, and the strategic objectives of the Australian Government as implemented by Austrade and the Critical Mineral Facilitation Office,” Mr Jacobs said.