(www.mining-technology.com} – Luxembourg-based steel production company ArcelorMittal has started work on a feasibility study at the Tokadeh iron ore mine in Liberia.
ArcelorMittal intends to identify an optimal concentration solution for utilising the mine’s lower-grade resources through the study.
The research will be carried out using a phased approach and results are expected at the end of this year.
The development follows the company’s commencement of mining activities at the Gangra direct shipping ore (DSO) deposit.
ArcelorMittal had originally planned a Phase II expansion at Tokadeh in order to achieve the production of 15 million metric tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of concentrated sinter fine ore.
“The outlook for 2018 has strengthened as the year has progressed, with the combination of growing demand and supply side reform driving higher-capacity utilisation rates.”
However, the project was temporarily put on hold as a result of the Ebola virus outbreak in 2014.
ArcelorMittal subsequently reassessed the expansion project due to a decline in iron ore prices and recommenced drilling for DSO resource extensions in late-2015.
The company reported a 5.5% spike in market-priced iron ore shipments in the first quarter of this year when compared to the same period last year, which was a result of higher shipment rates in Liberia.
Market-priced iron-ore shipments are currently projected to increase by 10% this year.
The company posted a net income of $1.2bn in the quarter ending March this year, which represents an increase of 19% when compared to the first quarter of 2017.
ArcelorMittal chairman and CEO Lakshmi Mittal said: “The improvement in global steel market dynamics has continued into 2018, supporting an encouraging financial performance in the first quarter.
“EBITDA increased 13% year-on-year to $2.5bn, while net income improved by 19% to $1.2bn.
“The outlook for 2018 has strengthened as the year has progressed, with the combination of growing demand and supply side reform driving higher-capacity utilisation rates and healthy steel spreads globally.”
The company’s total steel shipments grew from 21 million tonnes (Mt) in the fourth quarter of 2017 to 21.3Mt in the first quarter of this year.
In addition, iron ore production jumped 1.3% on a quarter-on-quarter basis to reach 14.6Mt.