Major upgrades to load bearing structures have been completed ahead of schedule at Hazelwood Resources’ ATC Ferrotungsten Project in Vietnam, and have been formally certified by independent engineers. A series of improvements to materials handling systems have also been completed ahead of coming production campaigns.

The upgrades are safety, durability and efficiency-focused, according to company representatives. The largest and most advanced ferrotungsten plant outside China, the ATC asset, is committed to being a long-term strategic supplier, says the company.

Invoiced maiden product values have been submitted and applied to feedstock purchases, says Hazelwood, while sales proceed balances will be recovered from end-user settlements.

Strong ferrotungsten prices means strong uplift sales participation are also anticipated. Specialty metals trader Wogen Resources has the exclusive global sales agency for all ATC’s ferrotungsten. It has also acted as a key feedstock procurer for the plant.

European ferrotungsten prices have exceeded $US48/kg, driven by material supply shortages. Meanwhile, another producer selling to European and Japanese markets has experienced operational difficulties, as Chinese ferrotungsten exports remain low. Chinese exports are levied with a 20% tariff, as the flow of illegal and duty-evading products have fallen significantly.

ATC produces high-quality ferrotungsten for tool steels, high-speed steels and temperature-resistant alloys. It has proposed a ramp-up to an annual rate of 1500 tonnes of ferrotungsten during 2014 and 2600 tonnes in 2015 while margins of $US5-8/kg of contained tungsten are indicated.

Hazelwood Resources is an ASX-listed specialty metals producer with a majority stake in the ATC Ferrotungsten Project in Vietnam. The ATC plant is the largest facility of its kind outside China, and among the world’s most advanced. Hazelwood also has significant exposure to nickel sulphides and base metals exploration through its Cookes Creek and Copper Gorge areas in Western Australia’s East Pilbara region.

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