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Australia's Kupang awaits approval to export manganese ore from Indonesian project

News Source:http://www.jinchemical.com/ ; SendDate:2014-2-24 10:31:08 
Australia's Kupang Resources said Friday it was waiting for approval from the Indonesian government to begin exporting manganese ore from its West Timor project following a ban imposed last month on exports of ore containing less than 49% manganese content.

"Currently this is estimated to be 100% of the export market. The avenues to market the current mining production on the island have largely been closed unless one has the recognized ability to produce a concentrate through a process plant," a Kupang Resources spokesman said.

Kupang Resources owns 55% of the Kupang joint venture with the rest held by three Indonesian companies.

The Department of Energy and Minerals recently requested Kupang Resources to supply it with 300 kg of raw ore from its plant in Bolok for testing.

"To our knowledge, we are the only company [that is] in the process of having [its] operation assessed to be capable of making a concentrate and hence an export product," the spokesman said.

Unless raw ore is processed to a concentrate containing more than 49% manganese metal, it cannot be exported.

"As our average grade in the bulk samples to date were over 55% Mn metal we believe that there will be a positive outcome and verbal indications to date have been positive," the spokesman said.

"However experience in operating in the region has taught us to be cautious and await the final formal approval prior to confirming this in the market," he added.

Kupang Resources will start initial production from its plant at a rate of 30,000 mt/month before increasing to 80,000 mt/month depending on local ore procurement.

"We believe that the formal approval of export capability from the process plant will assist us in these negotiations and lead to an increase in raw ore deliveries for processing. Ultimately this is the driver of increased production," the spokesman said.

If it gets government approval, Kupang Resources said it expects to export manganese ore to several markets including China, Mexico and South Korea. The company expects to be able to begin exports by April-May.

"Naturally the greatest interest is from China, so that is a likely outcome. However, the grade and quality of this product make the marketing exercise very easy and the choice will initially be based on price but secondary considerations such as long-term relationships will also play a part," he said.

Ore from the Bolok plant was expected to be exported from the port of Tenau where the joint venture has bulk shiploading facilities.
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