King Island Scheelite green-lights tungsten mine start, rebrands as Group 6 Metals

Group 6 Metals tungsten ASX KIS King Island Scheelite
King Island Scheelite has been rebranded to Group 6 Metals with immediate effect.

Emerging Tasmanian tungsten producer King Island Scheelite (ASX: KIS) will begin work next month at its Dolphin project when earthworks start, 31 years after the mine closed due to low prices.

There will also be a name change: the company is to rebrand as Group 6 Metals with immediate effect.

The company has previously described Dolphin as “one of the world’s richest tungsten deposits”.

The final plank in the plan to redevelop Dolphin was put in place earlier this week when the company secured a $10.2 million equipment hire purchase facility.

With Group 6 Metals’ $88 million target for financing now secured, the decision to mine was confirmed after shareholders voted to approve the plan at the recent annual meeting.

Timetable to follow for first tungsten production

Group 6 Metals says it will soon provide a timetable on the redevelopment and restart of mining and processing of tungsten ore at Dolphin.

It plans to export about 3,200 tonnes per annum of tungsten trioxide concentrate.

The company also noted its move to order early for long lead time equipment.

In August, Group 6 Metals said it would address potential shipping delays and rising freight prices by stepping up orders for long lead items needed for its processing plant.

The company, in order to meet its projected timelines, was also committing to paying deposits in advance.

Highest grade ‘significant’ deposit in West

The August move came as global supply chains were clogging up due in part to COVID-19.

Executive chairman Johann Jacobs today thanked all those who had helped get Dolphin ready for redevelopment.

“The company has worked tirelessly to progress to this stage,” he said.

Mr Jacobs said the mine hosts the Western world’s highest grade tungsten deposit of significant size.

The global tungsten market is growing at about 4% a year according to latest reports, but China still dominates world supply.

Tungsten is the toughest metal known, with a melting point of 3,411 degrees celsius (and a boiling point of 5,500oC.

Tungsten discovered at Dolphin more than a century ago

It was in 1911 when a prospector, searching for tin, discovered what is now the Dolphin deposit.

Mining began in 1917, but was short-lived, closing down in the mid-1920s.

It was later revived, and then production boomed during World War II as the Australian Federal Government provided equipment to extract the strategic metal.

Prices soared again during the Korean War by which time the mine was operated by a listed company, King Island Scheelite (1947) Ltd, which was taken over by the former Peko-Wallsend in 1969.

The mine, along with many other Western tungsten producers, was hit in the 1908s by large tungsten quantities being dumped by China into the market and closed in 1990.

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