Edenville Energy Plc (AIM: EDL) is pleased to provide an update on operations at its Rukwa Coal Project (“Rukwa”) in Tanzania.
Following the recommencement of production at Rukwa, as announced on 11 October 2022, the Company is pleased to report the works undertaken to upgrade the wash plant have yielded positive results, with the wash plant regularly running at the targeted base-case output of c.100 tonnes per day, which, if sustained and assuming increases in working time on the ground as referred to below, achieves the Company’s initial target of 4,000 tonnes per month. However, the period did witness interruptions to production as components for the excavator, used to extract run of mine (“ROM”) coal for delivery to the wash plant, were damaged. These components have subsequently been replaced and operations are currently back at the c.100 tonnes per day level of washed coal output. Management continues to expand the inventory of spare parts at site to minimise future downtime.
As noted, the performance of the wash plant has been encouraging and the Company’s view remains that a sustained output of 100 tonnes per day, and higher, is achievable. The simplest way for future increases to be achieved will be to increase daily production hours from the current eight-hour shifts for five and a half days per week. The opportunities for longer 12 hour or even double shifts (16 hour) and seven days per week production are being examined, including seeking to ensure that on the ground machinery is capable of meeting the targeted output on an ongoing basis. In addition, the Company has taken possession of two new trucks in recent days, which will be used to transport ROM coal from the coal face site to the wash plant, accelerating the process and ROM capacity substantially to avoid downtime at the wash plant.
The quality of ROM coal also has a significant impact on the output from the wash plant. The specifications of the wash plant, as a new piece of plant, indicate the output of washed coal should be approximately 35% of the tonnage inputted. This 35% output is not achievable by default and is dependent on the quality of coal inputted and the efficiency of the plant.
To further improve on output to meet and subsequently exceed the targeted 4,000 tonnes per month yield (assuming no further interruptions), the Company has engaged the services of Alan Golding, a competent coal geologist who has many years’ experience in coal mining throughout Africa. Mr Golding has visited the Rukwa project site and started the process of evaluating the best location for the next ROM extraction. His efforts have thus far also uncovered a potentially significant coal seam, previously unrecognised, which if proven could enable the production of additional coal for several years to augment or replace current production if the quality of coal is higher.
If this materialises it has the potential to improve the quality of the ROM coal and the efficiency of the wash plant over time. Further work is still required to assess the extent, attractiveness and viability of this coal seam, however initial reports appear encouraging.
Demand for Rukwa coal remains strong and all of the washed coal production from 7 October 2022 to 7 November 2022, being 1,480 tonnes, was sold at prices ranging from US$40 to US$45 per tonne, with coal fines of 200 tonnes selling at up to US$20 per tonne. With our current stock pile of fines in excess of 60,000 tonnes the Company is pleased to have now identified potential customers for fines and will now look to monetise over time both ongoing production of fines and the stockpile.
The Company has identified a new long-term customer who is willing to enter into a contract with the Company for a minimum of 3,000 tonnes per month of washed coal at a price in excess of US$50 per tonne, subject to the Company establishing a stable production level. Accordingly, the Company expects to increase cashflows as it reaches higher levels of sustained output. Whilst the rainy season in Tanzania is expected to have an impact on production capacity, the Company is taking steps to minimise the disruption by establishing ROM stockpiles over the next two months, which can be used if and when necessary. Moreover, the Company is now better positioned to withstand the impact compared to previous years following investment in infrastructure and equipment.
Arrangement with contract miner
The Company has been advised that due to the need to undertake a tender process for the engagement of a local contract mine operator, the Company has temporarily suspended the previously announced arrangement with the local operator, as announced on 16 August 2022. This will now enable the Company to receive all of the proceeds of coal sales, until such time as a tendering process has been concluded in the coming weeks. The Company has ensured there is sufficient operational expertise at site during this period.
Update on Dispute with Upendo Group Ltd
In addition, Edenville is advised that the courts in Tanzania will address in the next few weeks the Company’s claim for the reversal of the transfer of Upendo Group Ltd.’s 10% economic interest in the local joint venture, which holds the licences governing the Rukwa project, to a 10% direct holding on the principal production licence. A further update will be provided in due course.
For further information please contact:
Edenville Energy Plc
Nick Von Schirnding – Chairman | Noel Lyons – CEO
+44 (0) 20 3934 6630
Strand Hanson Limited (Financial and Nominated Adviser)
James Harris | Rory Murphy
+44 (0) 02 7409 3494
Tavira Securities Limited (Broker)
Oliver Stansfield | Jonathan Evans
+44 (0) 20 7100 5100
IFC Advisory Limited (Financial PR and IR)
Tim Metcalfe | Florence Chandler
+44 (0) 20 3934 6630