Conflict-free Tungsten in the Works

- December 2nd, 2013

On November 26, a joint conflict-free program was announced to help address the issue of conflict tungsten.

Conflict-free Tungsten in the WorksConflict minerals is a term better known for tantalum and tin being sourced from conflict regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo and other conflict areas. But it is important to note that tungsten, among other metals and minerals is also on the conflict mineral radar. On November 26, a joint conflict-free program was announced to help companies be more transparent in their sourcing of tungsten from conflict zones. The program is a collaboration between the Conflict Free Sourcing Initiative (CFSI) and the Tungsten Industry Conflict Minerals Council (TI-CMC) and aims to help make it easier for companies to source conflict-free tungsten. 

According to TI-CMC’s press release, by developing specialized framework members of the TI-CMC can opt to become validated as DRC conflict free tungsten smelters under the CFSI’s Conflict-Free Smelter Program (CFSP). The initiative is the first time the organizations can provide information regarding conflict free tungsten smelters. The program can help companies sourcing DRC tantalum just in time for the U.S. reporting regulations for conflict minerals are slated to come into effect in 2014.

This week, Metal-Pages spoke with Robert Lederer, the executive director at the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), who explained that “Being able to provide companies with information about audit validated, conflict
free tungsten smelters is a real success for our initiative, companies, and crucially the people on the ground who are affected by conflict in central Africa.”

James R. Dale, vice President of Member and Industry Relations for the Metal Powder Industries Federation is pleased with the start of the program and the unified approach that is being taken to address the matter of conflict minerals. “The TI-CMC sees this collaboration as an efficient and practical way for tungsten smelters to provide confidence to their customers that their sourcing practices do not directly or indirectly support conflict in the Democratic REpublic of the COngo and adjoining countries,” Dale said in his statement.

TI-CMC compliant smelters can opt to undergo the Conflict-Free Smelter Program audit, and any compliant smelters will be publicly listed on the organizations’ websites.

Thor Mining aims for 2015 start, cuts cost forecast

Junior tungsten hopeful Thor Mining (LSE:THR) is eyeing a Q2 2015 start date for tungsten from its Molyhil site in Australia’s Northern Territory, the company mentioned in a corporate presentation. Thor is targeting construction for the end of 2014.

In its investor presentation, Thor also offered a revised and slash operating cost forecasts by about 19 percent for the Molyhil project. The company also remarked that savings of up to 28 percent were possible of it could get production credits for molybdenum as a by-product. Operating costs for the project are now slated at AUS$72.24 million, compared to the previous estimate of AUS$89.51 million.

Unfortunately, the lowered operating costs did offer a minor penalty, Mining Weekly reported. “The savings offsets for the proposed mine, with estimated capital expenditure for Molyhil increasing by 5.5% to A$73.6-million, from A$69.7-million originally.”

However, according to the company, further downward pressure was expected due to ongoing work testing new methods of sorting ore prior to processing.

Prices hold steady

Tungsten prices have remained mostly unchanged this week with APT Tungsten prices holding steady between $370-390 per metric ton unit. Metal-Pages reported that keeping any fluctuations at bay was firm production material prices, however business has been slow in the lagging cemented carbide market.


Securities Disclosure: I, Vivien Diniz, hold no investment interest in any of the companies mentioned. 

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