Image: West Coast Mayor Phil Vickers speaking at TMEC's annual conference held in Queenstown, July 2015.
I was pleased to accept an invitation to Bluestone Mines Tasmanian Joint Venture Pty Ltd to attend a briefing on site last week.
The Renison Tine mine is operated by the Joint Venture – consisting of Yunnan Tin (the world’s largest tin miner), L’Sea Resources International Holdings Ltd (a Hong Kong investment house) and Metals X Ltd (an Australian listed company that has 50 per cent of the joint venture).
General manager Alan King and his team of 148 employees – supported by Barminco who are the mining contractor with 150 employees – are continually fine tuning the operation to improve recovery and keep the cost of operation within the parameters of the tin price. A different focus on proving up ore reserves along with a little luck has seen reserves put the mine life at 10 years plus.
The downside of course is always the tin price needs to be better than production cost.
The company has been planning for a new $80 million capital program which includes retreating the tailings via a fuming plant. Such a plant would be of great benefit not only to Bluestone but other miners with hard to treat ore and perhaps lead to new smaller shows starting up.
Again it’s all about the medium-long term price.
The Bluestone Joint Venture shareholders have $150 million of skin in the game, which has been spent on making the Renison mine as sustainable operation creating 300 direct jobs.
Well done and the council will always support where it can.