EPC-UK says its full rock-on-ground services will soon begin work at the Hemerdon tungsten-tin deposit in Devon, England, as part of a new contract it has secured.
The company’s work will begin in 2023 and will enable operator, Tungsten West Ltd, to benefit from EPC-UK’s skilled level of drilling and blasting expertise as it sustainably extracts specific critical minerals, it says.
The reopened Hemerdon mine comprises the world’s third largest tungsten mineral resource, with a recently-released mining plan envisaging restarting production during the first half of next year.
In terms of mining, Hemerdon will aim to process 2.1 Mt of ore in year one, 2.6 Mt in year two, before ramping up to steady-state production of 3.5 Mt throughput in year three. This targets WO3 in concentrate production of 2,200 t, 3,000 t, 3,900 t, and tin in concentrate production of 320 t, 430 t and 600 t in years 1, 2, and 3 respectively.
In advance of EPC-UK’s rock-on-ground service commencement on site, it has agreed a program of early investment in the Tungsten West project, which has allowed us to fully understand the operation’s requirements and meet the project’s needs, including, among other things, the use of the latest equipment.
This will see the company deliver new Epiroc drilling rigs fitted with autosampler capabilities for drill returns.
Explosive supply to site will also benefit from EPC-UK’s latest smart truck technology supported by the full Vertex software package, which can incorporate drone gathered data and GPS capabilities to refine and improve blast performance, assess against incremental changes in design and subsequently optimise results for customers, the company says.
In terms of digital services, EPC-UK plans to use its digital techniques and engineering expertise, together with subsequent blasting operations, to enable the most efficient ore extraction to realise the most value possible, it said.
Ben Coppock, General Manager Blasting and Explosives at EPC-UK, explained: “We’re keenly anticipating our delivery start date at Hemerdon and look forward to realising results from our joint agenda with customer, Tungsten West. Our business ethos, commitment to safety and levels of expertise are aligned, and we will work successfully and sustainably to meet our mutual greener goals.”
James McFarlane, Managing Director of Tungsten West, said: “Tungsten West has full confidence in EPC-UK as a drilling and blasting rock-on-ground provider. The preparations the team has already put in place in advance of contract work commencing is impressive and demonstrates complete customer focus and a commitment to achieving leaner operations. The reopening of the Hemerdon Mine and its promise to bring sustainable economic activity back to the area is a significant development and we anticipate the results that EPC-UK and Tungsten West will deliver.”