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Advancements in tungsten production: Updates from Dolphin and Mt Carbine mines

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G6M, operating the Dolphin Tungsten mine on King Island, Tasmania, initiated operations in March 2023, achieving commercial concentrate production by July. With consistent monthly concentrate output increments, save for a slight drop in January this year, production rebounded in February and March, reaching 46.1t and 56.8t, respectively. These initial three months tallied a cumulative 130t of WO3, marking a significant 36% quarterly increase and the most productive quarter since resuming mining and processing activities.

In Queensland, EQ Resources (EQR) manages the Mt Carbine Project, incorporating a mine, processing plant, and quarry. Following the commencement of mining operations at the Andy White Open Pit in June last year, EQR has been striving to boost production. Although tungsten concentrate production at EQR dates back to 2020, output has been constrained by processing low-grade ores and stockpiles. However, mining resumption initiated ramp-up expansions, evident in the increased production output. In the first quarter of 2024 alone, EQR produced 507 wet tonnes of WO3-in-concentrate, marking a notable 38% increase from the preceding quarter and the highest output quarter since the mine restarted operations.

Both operations are progressing favorably and are poised to reach their plant design capacities. At full ramp-up, Dolphin is projected to produce 2.0ktpy of WO3-in-concentrate, while EQR is anticipated to yield 1.2ktpy. Furthermore, the Mt Carbine Processing Plant boasts the potential to increase production to 3.0 to 6.0ktpy, based on pit design.

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Tungsten demand is slated to surge over the next decade, with supply concentrated primarily in China, Vietnam, and Russia. Australia, upon achieving full capacity, could potentially disrupt the top-three producers and ascend to the second position, particularly if Vietnam and Russia do not expand current capacity. Such a scenario aligns with Western objectives to diversify supply beyond the top three producers.

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