Despite challenging economic conditions, TVI’s Philippine operating affiliate, TVI Resource Development (Phils.) (TVIRD), successfully secured bridge financing (guaranteed by TVI) in order to complete, in just five months, the major infrastructure of the Canatuan sulphide plant by mid-November 2008. A term loan facility for $29.9 million (also guaranteed by TVI) was subsequently entered into to replace the bridge financing facility. Successful start-up and commissioning activities at Canatuan soon followed, with each event marking new milestones for TVIRD. Commercial operations were then established in early March 2009 and the first 5,350-t shipment of copper concentrate to an offtake purchaser, MRI Trading, was completed near the end of the month for initial proceeds of approximately $4.9 million. This first shipment of copper concentrate marked a return to internally generated cash flows for TVIRD. As with previous gold and silver operations at Canatuan, the business plan for TVI contemplates that cash generated from the sulphide operation will be used to, among other things, fund the exploration and development of other TVIRD projects in the Philippines. This will include exploration efforts on the surrounding Canatuan tenements in the hope that a defined orebody can be identified, the feed from which could be trucked to the newly constructed plant to extend the mine life at Canatuan.The current mine plan calls for TVIRD to selectively mine the high copper areas of the deposit during the early years of the project’s five to six year mine life, in order to maximise available cash flows, with zinc concentrate to be produced at a later date as the mining process is adjusted to the mixed copper-zinc areas of the deposit and finally to the higher-zinc areas.TVIRD controls an extensive 352 km2 land package surrounding the Canatuan mine – the Canatuan tenements. The mineralisation is a VMS – style orebody and deposits of this type rarely occur in isolation. There are numerous occurrences around the globe of such deposits (including Canadian examples at Noranda, Buchans, Flin Flon, Sturgeon Lake, Louvicourt and Myra Falls) that support long-term and significant mining operations. Management of TVI believes that a similar mining camp potential exists within the Canatuan Tenements. Initial exploration on the properties suggests that the land package hosts a 40+ km strike length of the schist-formation stratigraphic horizon that hosts the Canatuan orebody. The management of TVI believes it is likely that similar Canatuan-style deposits exist within the area of the Canatuan tenements and additional exploration is scheduled for areas of particular interest. Any mineable ore located in the area could be shipped to the existing Canatuan plant for processing, which would extend the life-of-mine beyond the current estimate.Exploration to date has identified several mineral occurrences on the surrounding tenements, including the Tabingan, Matigdao and Palalian prospects, which management of TVI believes are compelling exploration prospects. The TVIRD exploration team is scheduled to undertake additional exploration to follow up on this mineralization in the near future.Management of TVI is now looking beyond the development of the Canatuan sulphide plant to a second development-stage property and planned production centre at the Balabag gold and silver project. TVIRD is scheduled to undertake additional exploration and initial development activities at Balabag over the course of next year, subject to raising additional project financing. While the Balabag scoping study produced in early 2008 provided data on a full-scale production plant, TVI management is currently evaluating strategies involving the establishment of a pilot plant (entailing significantly lower capital expenditures) in order to bring the project into production at an earlier date. This strategy contemplates the reinvestment of a portion of the cash flows from the operation into staged expansion and improvement of the plant, and the use of a portion of that cash flow to advance exploration activities.The 48 km2 Balabag development property is located at the municipal boundaries of Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur, and Diplahan, Zamboanga Sibugay, approximately 75 km east-northeast of the producing Canatuan mine. An initial mineral resource estimate provided to TVI in August 2007 reported that the deposit contained Indicated resources of 204,000 oz of gold equivalent (AuEqOz) at an average grade of 4.62 g/t and inferred resources of 234,000 AuEqOz at an average grade of 3.72 g/t (using a cutoff of 0.5 g/t gold, a gold price of $650/oz and a silver price of $13.50/oz). The resource estimate was based on the first 69 holes drilled into the deposit. To date, TVIRD has completed a total of 99 drill holes amounting to 10,804 m. Currently, the mineralisation is interpreted to remain open at depth and along strike, meaning that further exploration activities could result in the discovery of additional resources.Following the Company’s focus on getting Canatuan financed and producing, TVIRD exploration personnel are scheduled to return to the field to continue examining its largely unexplored land position on the Zamboanga Peninsula of Mindanao. Management of TVI believes that these tenements represent compelling exploration prospects that have the potential to host porphyry copper-gold and epithermal gold deposits. In addition to follow-up work at the Tamarok, Tapisa and Bonbon projects, TVIRD expects to undertake additional exploration initiatives across its broader property package.
Benetech, is focusing further on conveyor maintenance solutions. Without proper inspection and maintenance, a conveyor system with small problems can develop much bigger ones, leading to lost production and revenue. Curative repair costs also can double or even triple the investment in efficient preventive measures.Benetech’s state-of-the-art conveyor maintenance and repair include audits/inspections, adjustments, installation of equipment and replacement of parts. Working with Benetech to identify potential setbacks early and fix them results in more-steady production with less spillage, pluggage and carryback; less wear and airborne dust; improved material flow; and greater regulatory compliance for avoiding citations and fees. It helps bulk material handlers prevent fire and explosion hazards as well.Benetech conveyor belt maintenance further helps extend maintenance intervals while enhancing production. With Benetech, bulk material handlers can upgrade older, labour-intensive equipment and systems to advanced solutions such as:Engineered transfer systems that control material flow and lessen impact against belts, chute walls, stringers and idlersInspection doors that allow personnel to safely and easily access all areas to ensure proper conditions and functioningMaterial flow enhancers that restrict build-up and pluggageProper impact beds and trackers that keep the conveyor belt centered and protectedBelt cleaners that prevent spillage and carryback.“Our upgrades boost bulk material handlers’ capabilities and decrease the need for frequent conveyor inspections and maintenance,” said Benetech Vice President Paul Moran. “Our components, technologies and processes help ensure companies move more material for longer periods with fewer delays through a safer, fully operative system. This supports premium service to their customers.”Benetech provides complete, performance-based solutions for dust mitigation and bulk material–handling systems. Its products, services and technologies reduce dust, prevent spillage, improve material flow and reinforce compliance.