The Hemerdon Tungsten and Tin Project is Wolf Minerals core asset. It is located near the Plymouth in Devon County, in the southwest of the UK.
Wolf has identified the Hemerdon project as a potential major new source of tungsten supply for global manufacturing and industry. Wolf acquired the project in December 2007 and has conducted extensive exploration programs and established a robust, large JORC defined model, which contributed to the successful completion of a definitive feasibility study in 2011. Details of the project’s resource and ore reserves are provided on this page. The DFS identifies Hemerdon as a highly economic potential producer of low cost tungsten, located near a range of viable infrastructure routes.
Wolf has secured a total funding package of approximately A$212 million to fund development of the project. It has formally commenced development, with a 650 metre long, public access link road being completed in July 2012, and work under the project’s EPC contract commenced in June 2013. Production is scheduled to commence at Hemerdon in 2014, pending approvals. It is anticipated that when in production, the project will be one of the world’s largest, high margin tungsten mining operations.
The British Geological Survey, in September 2011, listed tungsten as one of the top five strategically important metals, and development of the Hemerdon mine would mean the UK would be host to a major secure source of processed tungsten. At present 60% of global tungsten reserves are located in the Peoples Republic of China.
Wolf considers that Hemerdon offers exceptional large scale, low risk, long life production as well as providing exploration opportunity to extend the project, with the extent of mineralisation beneath the pit yet to be determined.
The mineralisation is characterised by sheeted greisen veining and stockworks containing wolframite and cassiterite. The vein system is hosted within a dyke-like granite body. The mineralisation starts from the surface and is contained within the steeply dipping granite body flanked by metamorphosed sediments.
Plan view of project and adjacent clay pits.
After acquiring the Hemerdon project, the company wasted little time in developing the asset. In early 2008 Wolf commissioned SRK Consulting (Australasia) Pty Ltd (SRK) to provide a mineral resource based on existing drilling data, as defined by AMAX.
Wolf then commissioned scoping level studies to determine the capital cost of a processing plant and associated infrastructure, the cost per tonne to process ore, the mining costs as well as the cost of administration at the Hemerdon project.
These studies utilised information from the historic feasibility study conducted by AMAX in 1982. The outcomes of these studies were very positive and enabled Wolf to move forward with confidence to undertake a DFS. The DFS results were released in May 2011 and were extremely positive. Based on the results, the Company made the decision to seek project funding to develop the Hemerdon project, and take it in to production.
The DFS was based on a two-stage open pit with an initial 10 year life, and a 3Mtpa concentrator with associated infrastructure. Further details on the DFS are provided in the Company’s ASX announcement on the results, of 16 May 2011.
Table 1: Classified Mineral Resurce Estimate including killas UC 12.5 x 12.5 x 5m (>0.063%WO3) published in DFS May 2011
Table 2:Summary of Updated Ore Reserves at a 0.063%WO3 published in DFS May 2011
The overall planned pit dimensions are 800m in length, 450m in width and 230m in depth.
Figure 1: Computer generated image looking north at the Hemerdon feasibility study pit showing resource oreblocks of tungsten mineralisation.
Planning approval for the Hemerdon mine was originally granted in June 1986 and is valid until 2021. The planning approval was granted after a comprehensive public enquiry. Subsequent to this initial planning permission, Wolf has obtained an updated planning permission, which remains valid until 2021, in line current with best practice techniques.