Nyrstar Restarting Middle Tennessee Underground Zinc Mines

The Middle Tennessee operations include a concentrator, shown here, at
the Gordonsville mine site. Full production from the plant is expected by
late 2017. (Photo: Nyrstar)
Nyrstar has initiated work to restart its Middle Tennessee underground zinc mines, which have been on care and maintenance since early December 2015. The Middle Tennessee operations include three mines—Gordonsville, Elmwood and Cumberland—and a concentrator, all located in Smith county, about 100 miles east of Nyrstar’s zinc smelter near Clarksville, Tennessee. The concentrator is located at the Gordonsville mine site.

The care and maintenance workforce is being increased to facilitate mine development. Ore production is scheduled to begin during the first quarter of 2017, with processing operations scheduled to begin during the second quarter. Nyrstar expects the processing plant to reach full capacity of 50,000 metric tons per year (mt/y) of zinc in concentrate by November 2017.

Capital costs to restart the Middle Tennessee operations are estimated at approximately $14 million, to occur over 12 months until the mill is at full production.

Nyrstar also operates three underground mines—Young, Coy and Immel— and a concentrator in and around Knox, Jefferson and Grainger counties in east Tennessee, about 150 miles east of the Middle Tennessee mines. The East Tennessee mines continued to produce while the Middle Tennessee mines were on care and maintenance.

Commenting on the Middle Tennessee restart, Nyrstar CEO Bill Scotting said, “This restart will allow Nyrstar to generate additional net positive cash flow resulting from the higher zinc price environment and will improve the quality of the feed book for the Clarksville smelter at a time of tightened concentrate markets. The Middle Tennessee operations produce very high-quality concentrates that our Clarksville smelter can capitalize on through its refining and recovery processes.

“We are continuously evaluating every aspect of the business to sustainably improve cash flow in these volatile markets. As the Middle Tennessee mines’ infrastructure was maintained in good condition, I am confident that we will see a smooth transition into production and reintegration with operations at the East Tennessee mines and Clarksville.”

The Clarksville smelter produced 124,000 mt of zinc metal and 157,000 mt of sulphuric acid in 2015.

As featured in Womp 2016 Vol 11 - www.womp-int.com