Gulf Manganese has executed agreements with two manganese mining companies to supply feedstock for the Kupang Smelting Hub Facility, which is being developed in West Timor, Indonesia. The company also expects to finalise a third supply agreement for the plant by the end of the week.

Gulf says that this is a significant development as it establishes a secure supply channel with local mining groups. This is needed to underpin manganese alloy production at the Kupang facility, which is expected to start production early in 2018.

Site works at the Kupang site are well advanced with the company finalising contractual details with the primary construction contractor, PT Weltes Energi Nusantara. Bulk earthworks are progressing in readiness for the commencement of civil work.

Refurbishment of Gulf’s first two smelting furnaces is on schedule. Dismantling of the furnaces at Transalloys in South Africa has been completed with all the furnace electrical components, transformers, gearboxes, hydraulic equipment and steel components transported to a number of specialist contractors for inspection and refurbishment.

Gulf expects the furnaces to be shipped to Kupang during the December quarter.

Discussions are also continuing with relevant authorities to obtain the necessary permits to enable the company to begin the sale and shipment of direct shipping ore (DSO) from Kupang. The sale of DSO during the construction phase has the potential to be a significant near-term value catalyst.

Managing director Hamish Bohannan said, “Gulf continues to make solid progress in the development of the Kupang Smelter Hub Facility and the signing of these key ore supply agreements further underpins the project’s development.

“Establishing these initial supply channels further validates our operational team’s ability to successfully negotiate these contracts with local parties, and provides a clear pathway to the start-up of smelter operations early next year.

“We are also pleased that refurbishment activities on our initial two smelting furnaces in Pretoria is progressing on schedule, and the program remains on track for shipping in Q4.”

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