Bushveld Minerals heartened by continued rise in the vanadium price

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Bushveld Minerals Ltd (LON:BMN) has completed the previously notified essential maintenance at its Vametco asset in South Africa.

The vanadium producer said the maintenance work had affected production in the first quarter, which clocked in at 688 tonnes of vanadium, which was 21.8% lower than the corresponding quarter of 2020 and 28.7% down on the fourth quarter of 2020.

Sales were 27.0% lower year-on-year and 37.1% lower quarter-on-quarter at 788 tonnes, due to lower production volumes.

The company said full-year production is likely to be towards the lower end of its 4,100 – 4,350 tonnes guidance range, adding the caveat that the guidance could yet be affected by Vametco’s challenges in achieving consistent plant performance, the slower-than-expected ramp-up following the maintenance shutdown, the recent industrial action, as well as risks associated with the ramp-up of Vanchem’s first phase refurbishment.

“We recognise that Vametco has underperformed at times and work such as the 35-day maintenance shutdown is expected to improve on the reliability and performance issues experienced in the past. Since the industrial action and ramp-up we have seen a stable period of normalised production levels,” said Fortune Mojapelo, the chief executive of Bushveld Minerals.

Between April 16 and April 21 industrial action temporarily stopped production; the dispute has now been resolved.

“Various work streams remain underway to maintain this stability, including maximizing safety and house-keeping initiatives, better managing process system constraints and optimising preventative maintenance programmes,” he added.

“Positively, the vanadium price has continued to rise following a strong start to the year with increased demand in Europe and US on the back of a post-COVID period of growth. As the world continues to open up, we have confidence in the demand side of the vanadium market,” he concluded.

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