Contango Holdings confirmed that the production of washed coking coal commenced on May 23, 2023, at its Lubu coking coal project in Zimbabwe. This followed dry and wet runs of the wash plant over the preceding days and the integration of the screen with the broader processing facilities. 

“This is a landmark moment for Contango,” Carl Esprey, CEO of Contango, said. “It is no small feat to bring a mine into production and something most junior mining companies never achieve. I appreciate this process has taken longer than expected, but we are now producing a high-quality coking coal product and very soon will be a revenue-generating company.”

The mine continues to build its raw coal stockpile of coking coal using a Wirtgen Surface Miner, which can mine at a rates of up to 1,000 metric tons per hour (mt/h).

Contago said it will continue to undertake studies on washed coal production to ensure optimization. Samples will also be sent to several parties who have indicated they would look to enter into long-term offtake contracts.

“The focus for the company is now how to best expand operations at Lubu, leveraging our producer status,” Esprey said. “We have advised previously we intend on manufacturing coke at Lubu, which is expected to increase our margins from $80/mt to more than $300/mt at current pricing.”