Noventa Limited ("Noventa" or the "Company") - Update on Interim Comminution Circuit

TORONTO, Feb. 18 /CNW/ - Noventa (AIM: NVTA) (TSX: NTA) is pleased to announce that it has completed the construction of its new interim comminution (crushing) circuit ("ICC") at its Marropino Mine ahead of schedule. Subject to testing and commissioning, the ICC should enable an increase in production of tantalum concentrate from its current annual rate of 50,000 lbs to a minimum of 200,000 lbs contained tantalum per annum ("p.a."), by the middle of March 2011, bringing the Company closer to cash flow break-even.

The addition of the ICC represents a major step towards full production of over 600,000 lbs p.a. of contained tantalum, which is expected to be reached later in the year.  The approach of analysis, testing and proving each step of the mining chain from operating the pit through to delivery to the client has added significant confidence in the process and enabled the development of staff and processes that are no longer theoretical, but tested on an industrial scale. 

The construction of the ICC was part of a wider programme that has involved the reconditioning and recommencing of run of mine ("ROM") operations from the Marropino open pit to deliver ore to the plant at a consistent grade of approximately 220ppm which will replace the grade of 118ppm ore currently obtained from processing tailings.  Noventa will commence processing ROM material in conjunction with commissioning of the ICC and anticipates being able to continue to obtain ca. 51 per cent. recovery rate.  The Company has also undertaken the recruitment and training of staff to move from 12 hour shifts to sustainable 24/7 operations. 

The ramp up and reconditioning plan has included the purchase of  a fleet of mobile vehicles (two Caterpillar Articulated Dump Truck ("ADTs") 740's, a Bell D30 ADT, a CAT 345C Excavator, and a second smaller drilling rig to be utilised for pit blasting activities), the ICC crushing circuit (OreCrusher Dual Drive Vertical Shaft Impactor, Joest Vibrating Screen and Feeder and a Pilotcrushtec conveyer belt system) and associated ancillary civil and other structures including staff accommodation, and electrical equipment.  To maximise tantalum concentrate recoveries and efficiency of capital expenditure, Noventa intends to eventually embed the ICC crushing circuit within the new 600,000 lbs p.a. process plant (due to start commissioning in the third quarter of this year), and for the existing processing plant to form a new re-circulation circuit within the new process plant.

The task of building the ICC, despite the extended procurement distances and transportation challenges posed by the Mozambique rainy season (January to April), further demonstrates the ability of the team to succeed.  That it has been completed earlier than the anticipated second quarter of this year is testament to the cooperation of key suppliers and the dedication of the project team who have produced solutions to the many problems previously posed and in readiness for the new main processing plant.

Chairman, Mr. Eric Kohn TD, commented, "I am delighted to be able to report the achievement of this key milestone which lies on the critical path to full, profitable production scheduled for later this year, and congratulate our suppliers, the project team and management for their sterling efforts and achievements to date."

SOURCE Noventa Limited

For further information:

Eric F. Kohn TD
Noventa Limited
+41 22 8500560
+41 79 5030150

Nick Harriss/Emily Staples
Religare Capital Markets (Nomad)
+44 20 7444 0800 

Andrew Chubb/Kit Stephenson
Canaccord Genuity Limited (Joint Broker):
+44 20 7050 6500

Daniel Briggs
Religare Capital Markets (Joint Broker)
+44 20 7444 0500

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