Aftan owns the Namibia Tantalite Investment Mine (NTI), which mines and supplies tantalum at high-purity to a single, unnamed customer based in North America.
Thus far, it has made three shipments of the metal with a fourth currently being tested.
A second potential customer for the company’s output, which is used by the electronics industry, has begun an audit of NTI with discussions expected to carry over into next year.
It followed a site visit by the current end user and the prospective buyer.
On the ground two exploration campaigns are underway at the Homestead and Lepidolite locations to evaluate further resource potential around the NTI mine.
Contractor MSA Group has drilled over 400 metres, with cores being cut so they can be dispatched to the labs by the end of the year.
Looking at the NTI operation itself, there have been a series of plant upgrades and purchases including the installation of a dam under the thickener for improved water recirculation.
Aftan has also fitted larger slurry pumps, bulk diesel tanks, additional water pumps and solar panels. It has also drilled two more boreholes.
Nearby water an option
In order to aid production at the mine, the company has begun its own preliminary studies to assess the safest and most efficient method to use water from the nearby Orange River. It has hired an independent environmental expert to help in this regard.
“Significant progress continues at the mine and our customer continues to be impressed by the upgrades and potential for scale,” said Kennedy Ventures chief executive Larry Johnson.
“Plant efficiencies continue to improve and production from the Mine has steadily increased as a result of the substantial investment this year in improving equipment and processes.
“I am confident we will soon start to realise the inherent value from our investment in Aftan.”