Q2 2020 and H1 2020 Operational Update
Market Abuse Regulation ("MAR") Disclosure
Certain information contained in this announcement would have been deemed inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of Regulation (EU) No 596/2014 until the release of this announcement.
2 September 2020
Bushveld Minerals Limited
("Bushveld Minerals" "Bushveld" or the "Company")
Q2 2020 and H1 2020 Operational Update
Bushveld Minerals Limited (AIM: BMN), the AIM quoted, integrated primary vanadium producer and energy storage provider, with ownership of high-grade assets in South Africa, ("Bushveld"), is pleased to provide an operational update for the three months and six months ending 30 June 2020 ("Q2 2020 and H1 2020"), in respect of Bushveld Vanadium and Bushveld Energy, as well as other corporate activities.
· Group production for Q2 2020 of 778 mtV (100 per cent basis) was five per cent higher than Q2 2019 (Q2 2019: 742 mtV) through the inclusion of production from the recently acquired Vanchem processing assets.
· Group production for H1 2020 of 1,649 mtV (100 per cent basis) was 18 per cent higher than H1 2019 (H1 2019: 1,392 mtV), as a result of the inclusion of the production from the Vanchem processing assets for the full six month period.
· Estimated production losses of approximately 380 mtV were directly related to the Covid-19 nationwide lockdown in H1 2020. The production losses are comprised of 300mtV at Vametco and 80mtV at Vanchem.
· Production for Q2 2020 was 566 mtV in the form of Nitrovan and Ferrovanadium. Production was 24 per cent below Q2 2019 production (Q2 2019: 742 mtV), due to the Covid-19 nationwide lockdown and limited workforce flexibility and change in shift patterns in order to comply with Covid-19 protocols.
· Production for H1 2020 was 1,218 mtV (100 per cent basis) in the form of Nitrovan and Ferrovanadium. Production was 13 per cent below H1 2019 production (H1 2019: 1,392 mtV) due to the Covid-19 nationwide lockdown.
· Q2 2020 production cash cost (C1) of US$15.0/kgV, a 17 per cent decrease relative to Q2 2019 (Q2 2019: US$18.10/kgV), was underpinned by a weaker ZAR:USD rate1.
· H1 2020 production cash cost (C1) of US$17.20/kgV, an 11 per cent decrease relative to H1 2019 (H1 2019: US$19.30/kgV), supported by a weaker ZAR:USD rate1.
· Production for Q2 2020 was 212 mtV, three per cent lower than Q1 2020 production (Q1 2020: 219 mtV) and production for H1 2020 was 431 mtV.
· Q2 2020 production cash cost (C1) of US$10.60/kgV, 54 per cent lower than Q1 2020 (Q1 2020: US$22.90/kgV), as a result of record production achieved in May and June, supported by relatively low fixed costs and a weaker ZAR:USD rate1.
1. Production cash cost (C1) is based on vanadium produced, this was previously estimated using vanadium sold. Prior periods have been restated using the same methodology.
· A higher than expected increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in South Africa in Q2 2020, including a limited number of positive cases at the Company's operations, has led to reduced workforce availability and amended shift patterns to adapt to increased social distancing and Covid-19 guidelines. The commissioning of the Kiln-Off Gas at Vametco has been delayed due to a Covid-19 outbreak at the manufacturer's facility and it is now expected to be completed and commissioned at the end of September 2020, instead of the beginning of Q3 2020 as originally planned. The Kiln Off-Gas will increase feed throughput of the Kiln and increase production volumes.
· Group production guidance is therefore revised to between 3,660 mtV and 3,950 mtV (previously 3,960 mtV to 4,300 mtV), subject to no further Covid-19 related disruptions. Even with the revision, 2020 production guidance is between 25 per cent and 35 per cent higher than 2019 Group production (2019: 2,931 mtV).
- Vametco guidance is revised to between 2,700 mtV and 2,850 mtV (previously 3,000 mtV to 3,200 mtV) and production cash cost (C1) guidance of between ZAR295/kgV and ZAR300/kgV (US$17.50/kgV and US$17.90/kgV)1.
- Vanchem's guidance remains unchanged, although it is expected to meet the lower end of its production guidance of between 960 mtV and 1,100 mtV and the higher end of its production cash cost guidance of between ZAR310/kgV and ZAR320/kgV (US$18.40/kgV and US$19.0/kgV)1.
1. Production cash cost (C1) is based on vanadium produced, this was previously estimated using vanadium sold.
· We continue to adhere to the South African health authority protocols on dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. Our Covid-19 Task Team has put stringent processes and procedures in place for the early detection of cases, which has allowed for immediate self-isolation and tracking to take place so that any positive cases remain sporadic and are not spread. As a result of these measures, we have been able to continue operating since restarting in May.
· Appointed an Engineering, Procurement and Construction ("EPC") company, which commenced the engineering phase of the vanadium electrolyte plant.
· The South African Department of Trade Industry and Competition ("DTIC") approved the electrolyte plant project.
· Signed the surface sublease agreement and the power purchase agreement ("PPA"). Obtained a debt financing term-sheet for the Vametco mini-grid from a French Development Bank, underwritten by a South African institution.
Vanadium and VRFB Markets
· Chinese demand increased in Q2 2020 supported by increased infrastructure spending in line with RMB3.75 trillion (approximately US$500 billion) investment plan to encourage infrastructure investment. This has resulted in price disparities between China and the rest of the world. Robust demand from China is expected for the rest of the year.
· The Group has taken advantage of the robust vanadium demand and higher price from China compared to other jurisdictions and increased its Chinese sales. As at the end of H1 2020, Bushveld Minerals supplied 18 per cent of its sales to China, compared to three per cent in H1 2019.
· Demand from the North American and European steel and aerospace industries declined during the period due to the pandemic and associated plant shutdowns. Demand from the United States and Europe is expected to remain constrained for the rest of the year due to the economic slowdown.
· The European Union agreed a €1.8 trillion (approximately US$2.1 trillion) budget and corona virus recovery fund to confront the recession, which is expected to include significant infrastructure spend.
· The Covid-19 pandemic has increased the delivery period to customers due to logistics constraints at ports. The increase in transit time has affected overall sales volumes for Q2 2020 and is expected to continue for the rest of the year.
· Increased deployment of VRFBs and demand, is likely to rise as governments focus on accelerating the energy transition to a low-carbon energy future, which will increase vanadium demand.
· The London Metal Bulletin Ferrovanadium price averaged US$25.70/kgV in H1 2020, 54 per cent lower than H1 2019 (H1 2019: US$56.30/kgV), four per cent below H2 2019 (H2 2019: US$26.90/kgV).
· The interims account for the six months ending 30 June 2020 will be published by 30 September 2020.
Fortune Mojapelo, CEO of Bushveld Minerals Limited, commented:
"The safety and health of our employees remains a key priority. We are proud that the measures we have implemented have resulted in the early identification of positive cases at Vametco and Vanchem. Since the lockdown in April, we have been able to ramp up operations, however, the virus remains present within our society. Our work to ensure the early detection of any cases and to maintain social distancing within our workforce has forced us to change how we operate, and we have adopted new shift patterns and work arrangements, which have affected productivity. Due to these reasons, Vametco will not be able to recover the lost production of 300 mtV which occurred during the nationwide lockdown, and Vanchem is expected to meet the lower end of its production guidance. As a Group we now expect to produce between 3,660 mtV and 3,950 mtV, which represents an increase of between 25 per cent and 35 per cent, relative to 2019.
We are encouraged by the progress made at Bushveld Energy, particularly with the electrolyte plant, and the Vametco solar photovoltaic ("PV") and VRFB mini-grid project. Moreover, Bushveld Energy will devise self-generation options for all of Bushveld's existing and future electrical energy needs at its operations. With current aggregate loads of 21MW that are expected to increase to over 50MW post completion of expansion and refurbishment programmes, this need has the potential of more than 125MW of solar PV and 180MWh of battery energy storage systems within our facilities.
Sales are being closely managed and maintaining flexibility across our supply chain remains a key focus. Our strategy to increase sales to China has paid off with prices from that part of the world trading at a premium to those in our more traditional US and European markets, after the country increased its infrastructure spending as part of its fiscal policy in response to the Covid-19 crisis. Owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, the delivery period to customers has increased due to logistics constraints at ports, and the increase in lead time has impacted sales volumes for the quarter. We expect the longer lead time to continue for the remainder of the year.
This recovery in demand out of a reignited Chinese economy and the recent plans to provide stimulus to the European Union, which include the development of green infrastructure to aid Europe's economic recovery, show that the long-term demand fundamentals for vanadium remain in place. The metal's unique characteristics as a key element of rebar production ensure it will form part of stimulus plans that countries announce in order to reinvigorate their respective economies in a post-Covid-19 world.
Overall, the market continues to find its feet after these unprecedented global events, which have affected growth, trade and supply chains globally."
Bushveld Minerals Chief Executive Officer, Fortune Mojapelo, and Finance Director, Tanya Chikanza will host a conference call at 9:00am BST (10:00am SAST) today to discuss the Quarterly update with analysts. Participants may join the call by dialling:
Tel: United Kingdom: +44 (0) 330 336 9125; South Africa: +27 11 844 6054
Toll Free: United Kingdom: 0800 358 6377; South Africa: 0800 998 654
A replay of the conference call will be available on the Company's website post the call.
Bushveld has one of the largest, high-grade primary vanadium resource bases in the world. The Company's vanadium resource base currently consists of three mineral assets, Vametco, Brits and Mokopane, and its processing facilities consist of Vametco and Vanchem, which are all situated in South Africa.
Table 1: Operational highlights for Vametco (on a 100% basis)1
Q2 CY20 vs
H1 CY20 vs
Q2 CY20 vs
Vanadium (Nitrovan plus FeV) produced
Average realised price
Average LMB vanadium price4
Average CRU RN vanadium price4
Average Asian Metals price4
Production cash cost (C1)5
Production cash cost (C1)5
1. Based on provisional, unaudited figures. Bushveld's net attributable interest of the above figures is approximately 74 per cent. Production cash cost is based on vanadium produced, this was previously estimated using vanadium sold. Prior periods have been restated using the same methodology.
2. mtV = metric tonnes of vanadium.
3. Sales of 879 mtV includes sales to customers of 598 mtV and intercompany sales of 281 mtV.
4. The vanadium price is based on the FeV mid average price for the period, published by LMB for sales to Europe, CRU Ryan's Note ("CRU RN") for sales to the United States and Asian Metals for sales to Asia. Vametco realised price is based on the prior month's mid average price.
5. Excludes depreciation, royalties and selling, general & administrative expenses and cost associated with Covid-19.
· Vametco's production for Q2 2020 was 566 mtV in the form of Nitrovan and Ferrovanadium from magnetite concentrate. Production was 24 per cent below Q2 2019 production (Q2 2019: 742 mtV) and 13 per cent lower than Q1 2020 (Q1 2020: 652 mtV). This decrease in production was due to the nationwide lockdown which resulted in approximately 300mtV of lost production.
- Processing activities recommenced during April at a reduced capacity of approximately 50 per cent of production manning levels, in accordance with the Government's directive.
- The open pit and processing plant were permitted to return to 100 per cent production levels from 1 May 2020, and Vametco commenced ramp-up and returned to pre-lockdown production levels during the month.
· Vametco sold 879 mtV in Q2 2020, of which 598 mtV were final sales to customers. The sales volume includes intercompany sales of 281 mtV, of which 198 mtV have post period end been converted into final sales to customers.
· Due to the rise in Covid-19 cases in South Africa in Q2 2020 and the impact on operating conditions Vametco's guidance has been revised to between 2,700 mtV and 2,850 mtV and production cash cost (C1) guidance to between ZAR295/kgV and ZAR300/kgV (US$17.50/kgV and US$17.90/kgV).
Other projects underway at Vametco
· A Kiln Off-Gas project was initiated in 2018 to comply with environmental regulations relating to air emissions and further increase kiln feed throughput. Commissioning of the Kiln Off-Gas project was planned to be completed during the first half of 2020. Due to the Covid-19 lockdown, increase in social distancing measures and a Covid-19 outbreak at the manufacturer's facility, commissioning is now expected to be completed at the end of September 2020.
Covid-19 impact on logistics
· Vametco sells the majority of its product to the United States, Europe and Asia. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the average delivery period to final customer was of eight to 12 weeks, with delivery to China on average taking eight weeks.
· Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the delivery period to customers in China has increased to more than eight weeks due to logistics constraints at ports. The increase in transit time has affected overall sales volume for the quarter and we expect this situation to continue for the rest of the year.
Table 2: Operational highlights for Vanchem
Q2 CY20 vs
Average realised price
Weighted average production cash cost (C1)2
Weighted average production cash cost(C1)2
1. mtV = metric tonnes of vanadium.
2. Excludes depreciation and selling, general & administrative expenses and cost associated with Covid-19. Production cash cost is based on vanadium produced, this was previously estimated using vanadium sold. Prior periods have been restated using the same methodology.
· Processing activities recommenced at the end of April 2020 and ramped-up to pre-lockdown levels during May 2020 in accordance with the Governments "risk-adjusted strategy for economic activity".
· Production in Q2 2020 was 212 mtV, three per cent lower than Q1 2020.
- Production numbers are provided at the time of reporting, after which, based on customers' demand, Chemicals and Flake may be further processed to the required finished product, which will result in production and cost adjustments in line with the demand profiles of the various products.
· Achieved sales in Q2 2020 of 86 mtV, were 53 per cent lower than Q1 2020 due to lower customer demand from Europe driven by the Covid-19 pandemic. Consequently, sales are being re-directed to regions with robust demand, with the production split between chemicals, ferrovanadium and vanadium pentoxide flake being optimised for revenue.
· As a result of the rise in Covid-19 cases in South Africa in Q2 2020 and the impact on operating conditions Vanchem now expects to meet the lower end of its production guidance of between 960 and 1,100 mtV and the higher end of its production cash cost (C1) guidance of between ZAR310/kgV and ZAR320/kgV (US$18.40/kgV and US$19.0/kgV).
· Vanchem has sufficient stockpiled ore supply to support current levels of production until H1 2021. The Company retains the optionality to supply magnetite concentrates from Vametco to Vanchem.
Vanchem refurbishment programme
· Phase one of the refurbishment programme.
- The start of site work on the Waste Disposal Facility extension project is imminent, with contracts being finalised for the construction and site supervision. The project is expected to be completed within seven months of breaking ground. Pre-feasibility studies for the prioritised refurbishment programme projects for 2020 are scheduled to start in Q4 of 2020. The capital expenditure for 2020 is estimated to be ZAR85 million.
· AR Process Projects ("ARPP"), a South African EPC company, was awarded the EPC contract for the electrolyte plant. ARPP is an engineering contracting company comprising sales, engineering, project management, project services, quality and commercial services. Since its inception in 1973, the company has delivered over 150 chemical projects, including evaporators, crystallisers, polymer, distillation, drying and effluent treatment plants. An EPC Agreement was finalised and signed during the second quarter.
· ARPP has since commenced on the engineering phase of the EPC contract.
· DTIC approved the electrolyte plant project, allocating funding to the East London Industrial Development Zone ("ELIDZ") to construct the building and civil works to house the electrolyte plant.
· AIM-listed Invinity Energy Systems ("Invinity") appointed Rajat Kohli, as a Non-Executive Director in June 2020, as Bushveld's nominated director according to the agreement announced between the companies on 1 November 2019.
· Bushveld Energy's project development team continues to advance the Vametco solar PV and VRFB mini-grid project. During the quarter, key achievements included signing of the surface sublease agreement, PPA and obtaining a term-sheet to provide debt financing for the project. The team is finalising a turnkey EPC Agreement for the project, which should be completed in the coming quarter.
· In addition to the initial mini-grid project at Vametco, Bushveld Energy has been tasked with devising self-generation options for all of Bushveld's existing and future electrical energy needs at its operations in South Africa. With current aggregate loads of 21MW that are expected to increase to over 50MW after the expansion and refurbishment programmes, this need has the potential of more than 125MW of solar PV and 180MWh of battery energy storage systems within Bushveld's facilities.
· As previously announced, the UET system at Eskom completed site acceptance testing in May 2019. As UET shifted its strategy to a new, modular VRFB product, it was no longer able to continue monitoring and servicing the system. As a result, UET shut down the system in October 2019 and an agreement was reached among Bushveld, IDC, UET and Range Power Integration Co. Ltd ("RPI"), UET's sister company in China, to supply a replacement system that would be manufactured and maintained by RPI. The RPI battery of similar power and energy capability was delivered in Q1 2020, however, due to the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns, first in China and then South Africa, the system is yet to be commissioned.
VRFB market developments
· Major announcements of VRFB projects.
- 51MWh VRFB awarded to Sumitomo Electric in Japan. This will be Sumitomo's second large scale battery in Japan, with its previous 60MWh now approaching five years of successful operations. This project will consume approximately 300 mtV.
- 400MWh VRFB project announced by Shanghai Electric in China. This is the third 400MWh+ project announced in China. This project will consume approximately 2,200 mtV.
· Large, multinational power companies are starting to deploy VRFB technology in their projects, including ENEL in Majorca, Spain and EDF in Oxford, United Kingdom.
· Successful merges and acquisitions activities.
- Invinity began trading on AIM as a merger of Avalon Battery Corporation and redT energy plc. Invinity successfully closed £11 million of funding in March 2020 despite significant volatility in the financial markets, including a total of US$5 million provided by Bushveld in 2019 and 2020.
- VoltStorage GmbH, the Germany-based, private VRFB start-up focusing on residential VRFBs, just closed €6 million in Series B funding to "double its team and triple the production space.
· Manufacturing capacity for VRFB is also expanding with the announcement of the 3GWh manufacturing facility in Saudi Arabia, through a joint venture of the German manufacturing company Schmid and Nusaned Investment, part of SABIC, the Saudi multinational chemical subsidiary of Saudi Aramco.
Enquiries: [email protected]
Bushveld Minerals Limited
+27 (0) 11 268 6555
Fortune Mojapelo, Chief Executive Officer
Chika Edeh, Head of Investor Relations
SP Angel Corporate Finance LLP
Nominated Adviser & Broker
+44 (0) 20 3470 0470
Richard Morrison / Soltan Tagiev
Abigail Wayne / Richard Parlons
BMO Capital Markets Limited
+44 (0) 20 7236 1010
Tom Rider / Michael Rechsteiner /
Peel Hunt Limited
+44 (0) 20 7418 8900
Ross Allister / Alexander Allen
Charles Vivian / Gareth Tredway /
+44 (0) 207 920 3150
ABOUT BUSHVELD MINERALS LIMITED
Bushveld Minerals is a low-cost, integrated, primary vanadium producer, with ownership of high-grade vanadium assets.
The Company's flagship vanadium platform includes a 74 per cent controlling interest in Bushveld Vametco Alloys (Pty) Ltd, a primary vanadium mining and processing company; 100 per cent of Bushveld Vanchem, a primary vanadium processing facility with a beneficiation plant; the Mokopane Vanadium Project and the Brits Vanadium Project.
Bushveld's vision is to become a significant, low-cost, integrated primary vanadium producer through owning high grade assets. Whilst the demand for vanadium remains largely anchored in the steel industry, Bushveld Minerals believes there is strong potential for an imminent and significant global vanadium demand surge from the fast-growing energy storage market, particularly through the use and adoption of Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries. Bushveld Energy, the Company's energy storage solutions provider, plays a leading role in the development and promotion of the role of vanadium in this market.
The Company's approach to project development recognises that, whilst attractive project economics are imperative, they may be insufficient to secure capital to bring them to account. A clear path to production within a visible timeframe, low capital expenditure requirements and scalability are important factors in ensuring a positive return on investment. This philosophy is core to the Company's strategy in developing projects.
Detailed information on the Company and progress to date can be accessed on the website www.bushveldminerals.com.
Vametco is located near Brits on the Western Limb of the Bushveld Complex. The integrated operation comprises a vanadium ore mine and a processing plant that produces mostly NitrovanTM, a trademark product sold in major steel markets across the world. The mine lies adjacent to the Brits Vanadium Project, which will in future serve as an alternative source of near surface run of mine ("ROM") ore feed to the Vametco plant.
The Vametco mining operation uses open pit bench mining methods to mine a well-defined orebody. The deposit is continuous with limited faulting and dips in a northerly direction at approximately 19 degrees.
ROM ore is fed into a primary, secondary and tertiary crushing circuit, followed by milling and magnetic separation to produce magnetite concentrates. The magnetite concentrates are fed into the extraction process which includes the kiln for roasting followed by leaching and precipitation. Thereafter the precipitated vanadium as ammonium metavanadate is converted to modified vanadium oxide ("MVO") in rotary calciners. MVO is fed into the mix plant and finally into the shaft furnaces to produce NitrovanTM.
Vanchem is situated at Ferrobank Industrial Park in Emalahleni Local Municipality, Mpumalanga Province in the Republic of South Africa. Vanchem is a primary vanadium producing facility with a beneficiation plant capable of producing various vanadium oxides, ferrovanadium and vanadium chemicals. Vanchem uses the salt roast beneficiation process, similar to the one used at Vametco. The plant comprises: a core salt-roast processing plant, including 3 roasting kilns, an electric smelting ferrovanadium converter, an alumino-thermic smelting facility, also located at Highveld, a vanadium chemical plant; and a rail siding linking the plant with Bushveld deposits and additional potential supply sources through the national rail network.
About Bushveld Energy Limited
Bushveld Energy is a leading energy storage solutions provider, focusing on the African market. Bushveld Energy recognises that electricity in Africa intersects paramount potential for social transformation with an immense commercial opportunity.
Bushveld Energy is focused on developing and promoting the role of vanadium in the growing global energy storage market through application in vanadium redox flow batteries. Its near term strategy is to deploy several VRFB systems as part of its longer term vision to become a significant electricity storage provider in Africa, meeting the demand for utility scale energy storage in Africa by leveraging South Africa-mined and beneficiated vanadium.