Kore Potash says it has signed a Heads of Agreement (HoA) with SEPCO Electric Power Construction Corporation for the construction of the Kola potash project in the Republic of Congo.
The HoA recognises the recent Kola optimisation study outcomes, which recently confirmed its potential to produce 2.2 Mt/y of granular muriate of potash over an initial 31-year life.
Brad Sampson, Chief Executive Officer of Kore Potash, said the HoA with SEPCO reconfirms the Chinese company’s commitment to advance from the completed Kola optimisation phase, to construction contract formation and then into construction of Kola.
“We look forward now to receiving the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contract proposal,” he said.
The Kola optimisation study outlined a project with a capital cost of $1.83 billion on an EPC basis. It also envisaged a 40-month construction period.
Kola is designed as a conventional mechanised underground potash mine with shallow shaft access. Ore will be extracted within ‘panels’, using continuous miners of the drum-cutting type. The mine design adopts a relatively typical layout including panels, comprised of rooms and pillars.
The mine design is based on a minimum mining height of 2.5 m with mining being undertaken by a continuous miner capable of mining seam heights of between 2.5-6 m. Each panel is accessed by four entries. Each entry is 8-m wide and 3-6-m high depending on the seam height. The rooms are mined in a chevron pattern at an angle of 65° from the middle entry, each with a length of approximately 150 m.
Mine access is provided by two vertical shafts, each 8 m in diameter. The shafts will be sunk near the centre of the orebody. To provide access to the underground, the intake shaft will be equipped with a hoist and cage system for transportation of persons and material. The exhaust shaft will be equipped with a pocket lift conveyor system to continuously convey the mined-out ore to the surface. Both shafts are approximately 270-m deep in the plan.
Mining equipment selected for Kola includes a fleet of seven electrically-powered continuous miners. Ore haulage from the continuous miners to the feeder breaker apron feeder will be done using electrically-powered shuttle cars, with a rated payload of 30 t and a 250 m power supply cable. Underground conveyor belts will be used for ore transportation to the shaft.
The belt conveyors are distributed in the haulages and into the working panels near the continuous miner working face. The ore will be placed on the belts from feeder breakers that are fed by the shuttle cars. Belt conveyors will carry the ore loaded by the feeder breakers to the ore bins. The ore is then conveyed from the ore bins to the vertical conveyor (pocket lift) system located in the exhaust shaft.
Ore from underground is transported to the process plant via an overland conveyor approximately 25 km long. After processing, the muriate of potash product is conveyor-transported 11 km to the marine export facility. The potash is conveyed from the storage area onto barges via the dedicated barge loading jetty and then trans-shipped into ocean going vessels for export.