TORONTO, Feb. 2, 2012 /CNW/ - The Board of Directors of Noventa Limited (AIM:NVTA;TSX:NTA; PLUS:NV) ("Noventa" or the "Company"), a supplier of the strategic metal tantalum, has today provided an update on operations and progress at the Company's Marropino site.
Since the start of Phase 1 Commissioning of the new processing plant at Marropino, announced on 12 December 2011, very good progress has been made towards the start of Phase 2 Commissioning.
During the past ten days a series of tropical storms bringing heavy rainfall and very high winds (80 to 90 km/hour) have affected Mozambique, and specifically the Zambezia province where the Marropino mine is located, causing extensive flooding and damage to infrastructure. The effects of these storms, and Cyclone Funso in particular, have been felt at Marropino. Whilst not significant, the strong winds have caused some damage to buildings and some localised flooding causing minor disruptions to on-going operations.
Unfortunately, the cyclone has in recent days brought with it a plague of Rove Beetles, which is not an endemic insect to Africa. Experts have informed the Board that these insects are likely to have been transported by the winds accompanying the cyclone. The Rove Beetle is very poisonous and can cause severe skin and eye irritations. Approximately 30 per cent. of the workforce at Marropino, including on-site contractors involved in the construction of the new processing plant, have been affected as a result of contact with these beetles. Ten people have been evacuated to local hospitals.
Having identified the insect an effective treatment is now being applied to affected people while pesticide spraying is being used to eradicate the infestation. The Company is also providing emergency aid and treatments to the population of the nearby village that was badly affected by the winds and the pest, where our local workers reside.
As a consequence, progress on Phase 2 Commissioning has been delayed and the Board currently anticipates that it will now start in March, rather than between the end of January and mid-February as the Board expected, and announced, in mid-December 2011.
In addition, production of contained Ta2O5 has been affected by the recent poor weather and the ongoing process of commissioning the new plant. As a result, January 2012 production was limited to approximately 3,675 lbs of contained Ta2O5.
90% of shipments completed during Quarter 4-2011 have now been delivered to one of the Company's customers and are being assayed in accordance with the revised specifications in the current contractual terms. Subject to the results of these confirmatory assays, sales volume in Quarter 4-2011 remains in line with the Board's forecast of 62,000 lbs announced on 12 December 2011 with a further approximately 10,000 lbs contained Ta2O5 shipped in early January 2012.
Noventa's strategy is to be the world's largest, low cost industrial scale supplier of tantalum concentrate, a rare specialty metal widely used in the consumer electronics industry. There is currently a shortage of tantalum supply and stock levels in the industry are being run down. With operating mines in Mozambique, Noventa is in a unique position to expand production to meet the industries needs. More information can be found at www.noventa.net
CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
Certain information contained or incorporated by reference in this release, including any information as to the Noventa's strategy, projects, plans, prospects, future outlook, anticipated events or results or future financial or operating performance, constitutes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Canadian securities laws. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements can often, but not always, be identified by the use of words such as "plans", "expects", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates", "predicts", "potential", "continue" or "believes", or variations (including negative variations) of such words; or statements that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "should", "might", "potential to", or "will" be taken, occur or be achieved or other similar expressions concerning matters that are not historical facts. Readers are cautioned that forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance. All of the forward-looking statements made or incorporated in this press release are qualified by these cautionary statements.
Forward-looking statements are necessarily based on a number of factors, estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by Noventa as of the date of such statements, are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies. Readers are also cautioned that forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Noventa to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. Certain of these risks and uncertainties are described in more detail in Noventa's Annual Information Form dated July 19, 2011, which is available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.
Although Noventa has attempted to identify statements containing important factors that could cause actual actions, event or results to differ materially from those described in forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause actions, events or results to differ from those anticipated, estimated or intended. Forward-looking information contained herein are made as of the date of this document based on the opinions and estimates of management on the date statements containing such forward looking information are made, and Noventa disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, estimates or opinions, future events or results or otherwise. There can be no assurance that forward-looking information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such information. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward looking information.
For further information:
+258 84 3456340
Rick Thompson/Phil Davies/Emily Staples
Religare Capital Markets (UK) Ltd. (Nominated Adviser)
+44 20 7444 0800
Religare Capital Markets plc (Broker)
+44 20 7444 0500
In North America
416 815 0700 ext. 243 or [email protected]