Explorer and developer Firering Strategic Minerals announced the commissioning of a crushing system, as well as the completion of design work for lime kilns at the Zambian lime plant owned by Limeco Resources on Wednesday.
The AIM-traded firm also revealed that it has an option to acquire up to 28.33% of Limeco, with the plant expected to become profitable and cash flow positive within a 12 to 24-month timeframe.
It said the newly-commissioned crushing system features a two-stage crushing circuit with an installed primary throughput capacity of 500 tons per hour of limestone.
The design was adapted specifically to produce aggregate, aimed at enhancing cash flow while kiln renovations were underway.
Firering said it has plans to ramp up aggregate production in the coming months, with initial sales expected to start soon.
The company also disclosed an estimated stockpile of more than 250,000 tonnes of waste rock readily available for the initial production of aggregate.
Aggregates produced by the system would primarily serve the construction industry, where the company said they were common in foundations, drainage systems, and in the production of concrete and asphalt.
Alongside the crushing system, Firering said it had completed final design work required to upgrade all eight lime kilns at the Zambian plant.
The company’s technical team was currently working closely with the local technical team to assist with the design implementation.
Commissioning of the eight lime kilns was expected to begin gradually, with the first two kilns slated for commissioning during the fourth quarter.
In anticipation of the kiln operations, the company said it had stockpiled an estimated 150,000 tonnes of limestone available for the initial production of quicklime.
Additionally, the existing limestone quarry was set to be reopened, boasting an estimated in-situ resource of 73.7 million tonnes at 95.3% calcium carbonate.
Advanced discussions were also taking place concerning the offtake of quicklime by major copper producers.
Firering explained that quicklime is often used in copper production processes, potentially offering a robust market for Limeco’s future production.
“We are excited to announce the successful commissioning of the crushing system that has produced its first aggregate by crushing waste from the waste stockpile at Limeco,” said chief executive officer Yuval Cohen.
“Limeco is now in the process of ramping up this aggregate production, which will enhance its cash flow during the kiln modifications and plant commissioning.
“Once commissioned, limestone feed will come from the existing 150,000 tonne stockpile adjacent to the primary crusher.”
Cohen said design work for the kiln commissioning was also completed, and the eight kilns would be modified two at a time, with the first two kilns planned for commissioning during the fourth quarter of the year.
“Firering’s decision to enter into the option agreement with Limeco Resources was led by the opportunity to provide our shareholders with exposure to a project that can be brought into production relatively quickly, capable of delivering cash flow in a relatively short space of time.
“We will continue to update shareholders on the progress made on site as we work with our partners to advance this quality project to production.”
At 1412 BST, shares in Firering Strategic Minerals were up 2.05% at 7.45p.