Kennedy Ventures says the plant upgrade programme at the Homestead project in the Tantalite Valley mine in Namibia, is progressing in line with management expectations with completion anticipated on schedule. Kennedy Ventures through its investment in African Tantalum (Pty) Limited has an interest in the Tantalite Valley mine. Kennedy Ventures said it had been informed by Aftan that mining operations have continued during the plant upgrade programme, with development proceeding as expected and a sufficient stockpile of 4,000 tonnes of ore is now available for the plant to operate continuously. The reorganisation of the plant modules has been completed together with the improvement and upgrade of a number of those modules. The milling circuit design is complete and the equipment for the pre-concentrate ore has been designed, manufactured and purchased. Installation is ongoing, with the plant upgrade completion expected in Q2 2017. The plant upgrades are expected to increase the plant capacity from 7,500 tonnes per month up to an estimated 15,000 tonnes per month. Aftan continues to assess the potential of the lepidolite lithium deposit as well as the occurrence of lithium in the other pegmatite bodies and both geological and metallurgical studies are in an advanced position. Aftan has also appointed a new General Manager of operations. Renier Swiegers, a Namibian citizen, is an experienced engineer and project manager who has a history of successfully delivering mining projects on time and in-budget. Siegers commenced duties at the beginning of August and has made an immediate impact on the operations, in particular the plant upgrade. Kennedy Ventures chairman Giles Clarke said: "The plant upgrade is a vital part of Aftan's strategy to enhance the mines efficiency, improve recoveries, increase production capacity and extract the significant value from the mine and surrounding ore bodies. It will also allow Aftan to potentially enter the lithium market. "We are very pleased with the progress being made and we look forward to reporting on the completion of the upgrade and Aftan's return to cashflow positive operations. "The addition of Renier Swiegers to the operations team has been invaluable and he brings key skills at an important time as we continue to support Aftan's investment in the project. We look forward to his continued contribution. "Aftan's ongoing investigations into the lithium potential at Tantalite Valley continue to be exciting and we look forward to updating shareholders as this work progresses and Aftan provides further updates."
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