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Consolidated back

Consolidated Minerals Limited has relisted on the Australian bourse, more than twenty months after its predecessor, Valiant Consolidated Limit-ed, was suspended from trading.

This follows the company recommencing mining high-grade lump and fines manganese ore at the Woodie Woodie leases, about 400 kilometres south-east of Port Hedland in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

It has also negotiated export contracts for 225,000 tonnes of its 1999/2000 production to China, Europe and Japan.

Based on annual production of be-tween 225,000t and 280,000t the company has forecast revenue of $33 million for the financial year to June 2000.

Valiant Consolidated went into voluntary administration in October 1997 after succumbing to burgeoning debt levels brought about by the loss of export contracts, poor quality control, transport problems, lack of currency hedging and other factors.

Through a Deed of Company Arrangement agreed upon between the administrator, Norgard Clohessy, creditors and shareholders, the company was recapitalised under its new name with the injection of a new management team and board of directors.

The company raised $6.5 million in fresh equity capital in 1998 via the issue of 32.5 million 20 cent shares with a free option for every two shares exercisable at 30¢ before 31 December 2001.

Consolidated managing director Michael Kiernan is positive about the future because he believes the company is an important niche supplier in a market dominated by a small group of large international manganese producers.

Mr Kiernan said a new mining plan has been implemented with a strong focus on quality control and delivering to the market “exactly what it wants”. He added that the new management will be placing emphasis on cost containment, systematic exploration, product marketing and maintenance of adequate working capital.

The company’s Pilbara Manganese Pty Ltd subsidiary commenced mining operations at Woodie Woodie in late May and ore processing began shortly thereafter. The first shipment of 35,000t to Europe is scheduled to take place in late July/early August.

Planned annual production is 250,000t of lump ore and 50,000t of fines material. The mine’s processing plant has the capacity to treat up to 350,000 tonnes per annum.

The company has also entered into an option agreement with ASX-listed Sovereign Resources (Australia) NL which is keen to purchase Consolidated Minerals’ unbeneficiated fines material for use at its proposed plant near Port Hedland to produce electrolytic manganese dioxide for international dry cell battery manufacturers.

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