Titan Mining Corporation (“Titan” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce that the crusher, hoist and mill at the Empire State Mine have been commissioned and hoisting of ore has begun on schedule and budget.
Production Re-start Update
Since the start of the project in early November 2017, the workforce on site has grown from 24 to 162 people, including contractors, with 83% living locally. The total workforce is expected to ramp up during 2018 to more than 190 people.
The underground crusher refurbishment, which was on the critical path, was completed on time, allowing for the 3,800 ton per day shaft to commence hoisting activity. The rehabilitation of the underground mine is well advanced, with over 26,000 feet completed since the start of the project. Initial development to access new stopes has begun, and production will be sourced from drilled long-hole stopes and early development ore. Refurbishment of mobile equipment is proceeding well, with over 85% of the support fleet fully operational, and work on production equipment is expected to advance through the quarter as throughput ramps up.
Wet commissioning of the 5,000 ton per day mill was completed following the re-line of the rod mill, and the initial zinc concentrate is expected on schedule in February.
Exploration and Growth Strategy
Titan has a three-phase growth strategy to 1) extend the current 8-year mine life, 2) fill the 3,800 ton per day capacity shaft, and 3) ultimately fill the 5,000 ton per day capacity mill.
“When we are fully ramped up in early 2019 to our Phase 1 throughput level of 1,800 tons per day, the mine is forecast to produce an average of 100 million pounds of zinc in concentrate per year, but our goal is to increase this to 225 million pounds or more annually by expanding throughput,” said Keith Boyle, Chief Operating Officer.
In order to execute on this growth strategy, exploration in and around the mine infrastructure will focus on historic resources and reserves, remnants and zone extensions. Regional exploration activities will focus on analyzing data around historic operations, drilling of known geological and geophysical targets, and the generation of new drill targets in the district through data analysis and field work.
The current regional exploration budget of US$5 million includes approximately 40,000 feet of diamond core drilling, with the possibility of adding further drills to test newly defined targets.
An inventory of the extensive vault of historic exploration and mining data is largely complete, and digitization and integration of this information into modelling software is well underway. Of top priority, a district scale lithostructural interpretation, 3D geologic models of historic mines, and a robust database for historic diamond core drill logs and geochemical data will be produced from the digitization of the data and compilation of the more than 200,000 archived files.
“We are excited about the opportunity to explore this historic zinc district and have a high degree of confidence that we will be able to find and develop new deposits,” said Michael Kirschbaum, Exploration Manager. “The 100 years of extensive data available to us, including 800 kilometers of drill core, represents a potential treasure trove of targets. Coupled with modern exploration techniques and software, we expect to emulate the discovery success experienced by other companies who have pursued similar strategies.”
Mr. Kirschbaum added: “In addition to the current operation at the Empire State Mine, there are six former mines on the property, and we have identified remnant material which has potential for economic extraction using our existing infrastructure. The district is underexplored and there is excellent potential for new discoveries both in and around the current and former mines, as well as regionally.”