Almonty Industries Inc. ("Almonty" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that it has commenced the drift development at the Sangdong tungsten mine located in the Republic of Korea.
The development of approximately 4,000 meters of 4.5m x 4.5m transportation drifts, loading points, passing bays and cross cuts connecting to ore bodies is planned to be completed in 18 months and the targeted commencement of full scale mining is expected to occur in early 2020. Gangwon Mining Co., Ltd. is the contractor undertaking the work under the mine development contract executed on April 23, 2018.
All the permits for the mine development were previously obtained and the required registration of licensed personnel for health, safety, environment, explosive treatment, mechanical and electrical supervision has been completed.
The official ceremony for the first blast was held at the Sangdong mine site on September 26, 2018 with the attendance of relevant officials from the primary permit and supervision authorities including Yeongwol County Government and the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy. Promptly after the ceremony, the first blasting and subsequent development work began inside the Alfonse D portal.
Almonty's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Lewis Black said:
"The beginning of the mine development work is an important and meaningful step to Almonty for bringing one of the largest and lowest cost tungsten mines in the world back into production after 25 years since its closure in 1993. We are particularly pleased to have engaged Gangwon Mining, the most experienced and competitive mining contractor in Korea with no record of safety incidents over 20 years.
The official commencement of underground development work will also change the status of the Sangdong mine to an operating mine which will allow the mine to be eligible for diverse local governmental support and subsidies provided by the mining promotion institutions such as the Korea Resource Corporation (KORES) and the Mine Reclamation Corporation (MIRECO).
This will widen the spectrum of government subsidies significantly, expanding from the previously announced ongoing endowment for the pilot plant which the Korea Institute for Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM) has provided, with the target completion of the pilot plant expected by the end of December 2018.
The scheduled completion of drift development and mining of ore in intersecting areas together with the completion of the processing plant which is planned to be commissioned in Q2 2020 are expected to enable the Sangdong mine to start producing concentrate in the middle of 2020, regaining its reputation as one of the largest tungsten mines in the world."