Woulfe Mining has fast tracked its Sangdong tungsten mine in South Korea back into production. The price of the minor metal has become quite attractive after a recent Chinese slowdown of exports has pushed it higher.
Brian Wesson the Chief Executive Officer and President of Woulfe Mining said that the company was modernizing the mine which had been shut down in 1992 due to dropping metal prices. However with supplies from China drying up the world need new sources for the metal. Now the company hopes to begin construction of a process plant on the site this year.
Getting the mine approval from the Ministry of Knowledge and Economy in July this year led to a land lease contract with Yeongwol County for the adit (entrance to the underground mine). The 6 by 6 metre adit will facilitate the use of modern bulk mining equipment and will provide access to all three zones (Main, Hangingwall and Footwall) within the initial mining block in the upper 25% of the ore body mostly above the valley floor.
Brian Wesson said that the government authorities are working with Woulfe to move the project forward and the permitting is a significant step towards production in 2012. The development will also provide access to mine bulk samples for metallurgical pilot plant test work to optimize recovery and production of Ammonia Paratungstate.
China produces 80% of the world’s supply of tungsten and has restricted the exports. This has sent the prices soaring to 90% higher than what they were last year for the metal. Grades in China’s tungsten mines are falling also affecting cost of production in the country.