Kupang Resources has moved a step closer to export approval after delivering 300kg of raw manganese ore samples collected from its West Timor project for testing at an authorized laboratory in Jakarta.

The 300kg raw manganese ore was sourced from the growing raw ore stockpile at the company’s Bolok site where its commissioned processing facility await the increase in raw ore deliveries from the manganese mining industry in the region.

Under a joint venture agreement the intention is to export high grade manganese product using Kupang’s dedicated 80,000 tonnes per month berth capacity and wholly-owned direct ship loading equipment.

In February 2013, a JV in which Kupang holds a 55% interest became operational for stockpiling and export of dry bulk manganese from Tenau Kupang. The JV entails access to port facilities for the export of processed manganese oxide by direct ship loading from the deep water Tenau port in Kupang on the island of Timor in Indonesia.

The JV’s ship loading equipment can utilize the facilities to export in the region of 80,000 tonnes per /month of processed manganese oxide from the project.

The recent Indonesian legislative changes for the exportation of minerals which came into force on January 12, 2014 effectively bans the export of a number of raw materials including manganese. The new law requires that to be exported manganese must be processed into a concentrate exceeding 49% contained manganese metal.

This effectively places Kupang Resources in a significantly enhanced market position. At its Bolok plant site, Kupang has a processing plant and testing facility capable of producing such a concentrate near to Kupang’s deep water port of Tenau.

The recent changes to the export legislation reduce the potential paths to market for the manganese mining industry in Kupang.

The Kupang Project JV was asked to prepare 300kg of manganese samples consisting of 12 samples with four individual 25kg samples representing the three physical types of manganese oxide found on Kupang, namely Cucur or alluvial ‘river pebble’ style of manganese oxide, Empe or secondary layered manganese oxide found in clay, and Rimer or primary massive manganese oxide

The testing of these samples is required to enable the Department of Energy and Minerals to formally approve Kupang’s facility as being authorized to produce a concentrate suitable for export in line with the new legislative changes.

The authorities have indicated acceptance of the facility but require the formal testing of raw ore to provide the written authorization required for export formalities to be finalized.

Significantly, Kupang Resources believes that no other manganese exporter has received such authorization nor has been asked to participate in such trials. The testing is expected to take 2 weeks.

Guidance for the start of shipping remains April/May 2014, provided approvals are received.

The manganese production will be blended to target a greater than 80% pure manganese oxide product for sale into the global manganese market suitable for a high grade blending agent for the ferro and silco manganese smelting industries and has the purity for potential sale directly into the expanding manganese battery market.

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