Integrated antimony company Tri-Star Resources says that the exploration area at Goynuk East has been upgraded to a mining licence.
The Goynuk mine in western Turkey already had an environmental permit for small scale production.
Last year, Tri-Star signed a memorandum of association with Oman Investment Fund and Dubai-based Castell Investments, to open an antimony processing plant in the Middle East.
A site in Oman will be used to construct an antimony roaster with a capacity of 20,000 tonnes a year, which could be in production by the end of 2015. The capital cost of the plant will be $60m, with $30m coming from project finance, a $10m mezzanine loan and the rest from the joint venture partners. Tri-Star will have a 40% stake in the joint venture so it will have to contribute $8m. Tri-Star still has to finalise the full joint venture and financial details.
The roaster will use Tri-Starís technology which separates out sulphur thereby minimising sulphur dioxide emissions.
The supply and processing of antimony is dominated by China. Antimony demand is forecast to grow at around 3.1% a year thanks to demand as a plastic catalyst, flame retardant and for semiconductors. Demand for lead-acid batteries is expected to grow at 2.9% a year. A reduction in Chinese exports has not been covered by other mines because many closed when the price was low and only some have reopened. The antimony price peaked at $17,200 per tonne in April 2011but it has fallen back to below $10,000 per tonne.
Tri-Star has open cast mine interests in Canada and Turkey, which it hopes to bring on stream by the time that the roaster is up and running. An extension and potential new targets have been indentified at the Bald Hill antimony deposit in New Brunswick, Canada.
There was a £2.65m cash outflow during 2013. Net debt was £467,000 at the end of 2013, although that excludes the financial liability of £1.23m relating to the convertible loan.
At 0.2p a share, Tri-Star is valued at £13.7m.
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