Losses grow for Anglo-Australian Wolf Minerals’ UK tungsten mine

Anglo-Australian tungsten producer Wolf Minerals has seen an 18 per cent rise in pre-tax losses for its Drakelands Mine in County Devon, England.

The sizeable tungsten mine, which is classed as the world’s fourth-largest producer of the highly sought ore and employs more than 200 people, saw a loss of £44 million ($74.6 million) in the 2017 financial year, up from £37 million ($62.7 million) in 2016.

Tungsten prices are increasing due to low supply and increasing costs attributable to Chinese competition, and prices have risen by 44 per cent since December 2016.

The metal is a valuable resource for usage in electric components and cemented carbide ‘hardmetal’ applications, which represent over 50 per cent of demand.

Earlier this month, Wolf Minerals extended its credit facility with its primary investor Resource Capital Fund, increasing its limits from £40m ($67.8 million) to £45m ($76.3 million), over double the company’s initial project estimate.

“The very limited new supply of tungsten coming to market in recent years is expected to support prices at higher levels as demand continues to grow,” said Wolf Minerals’ chairman John Hopkins.

“The board is encouraged by the recent price strength and the potential for longer term market equilibrium at these higher prices, providing Wolf with the opportunity to maximise its strategic value.”