Tag Archives: Cameron Henry

Primero rewarded with circa-A$290 million Mt Holland lithium concentrator contract

NRW Holdings’s wholly owned subsidiary Primero Group has been awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract related to the Mt Holland concentrator project in Western Australia for Covalent Lithium, a joint venture between Wesfarmers and SQM.

The Mt Holland project has been worked on in various development phases over the past 18 months between the Covalent and Primero teams, with the planning and works now culminating in the full award of the circa-A$290 million ($214 million) EPC delivery contract, NRW said.

Primero has been awarded the EPC contract that will process ‘run of mine’ ore at a rate of circa 2 Mt/y and produce an output of circa 400,000 t/y of spodumene concentrate to feed the company’s integrated lithium hydroxide conversion refinery situated in Kwinana.

The project scope covers the vertical delivery of engineering design of all disciplines, procurement of all equipment and materials, site construction, commissioning and performance testing of the spodumene concentrator at the Mt Holland site.

The full execution will commence immediately with site works planned to commence in October and an expected peak workforce of 350 personnel, NRW said.

Primero Managing Director, Cameron Henry, said: “The award of the Mt Holland EPC contract is the culmination of an 18-month journey with the Covalent Lithium team and demonstrates the trust and solid working relationship between the groups in the development of the project. This project is not only a flagship project for Primero and our parent company, NRW Holdings, but also a major project for Western Australia and the further development of the state’s battery minerals supply chain.”

NRW CEO, Jules Pemberton, added: “We are pleased to see the continued growth of the Primero business and, in particular, the scale of projects and quality of clients they continue to attract to the group.

“The project has created opportunities for the combined businesses and provides a great platform for other clients to understand the depth, capability and capacity of the group as a whole from early project inception and feasibility through turnkey multi-discipline delivery and further.”

NRW Holdings recently acquired Primero in a cash and shares deal valuing Primero at around A$100 million.

NRW Holdings to add further mining/metals EPC capabilities with Primero acquisition

NRW Holdings is in pole position to take over Primero Group following a cash and shares bid that values Primero at A$100 million ($74 million).

Primero Directors, who own around 30% of Primero’s equity, have unanimously recommended its shareholders accept the offer in the absence of a superior proposal coming forward.

The addition of Primero, NRW says, would provide significant engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) capability to NRW’s renamed “Minerals, Energy & Technologies” business pillar.

For Primero, meanwhile, it would deliver a “meaningful premium” to recent market trading levels and avoid the need for a potential significantly dilutive capital raising to fund working capital required to deliver its 2021/2022 financial year contracted order book, NRW said. Primero currently has a contracted order book for FY21 of circa-A$285 million and holds preferred EPC contractor status across multiple projects totalling circa-A$900 million.

Managing Director of NRW, Jules Pemberton, said: “The acquisition of Primero will provide NRW with the opportunity to expand its Minerals, Energy & Technologies specialised capability and to leverage the combined expertise of both companies to pursue new business initiatives across a large pipeline of opportunities.

“It builds on NRW’s recent acquisitions of DIAB Engineering and RCR Mining Technologies and represents a further diversification of our strategic platform to offer clients continuity of services across the whole lifecycle of resource projects – from early planning, design, development, construction to operations and maintenance. In addition, Primero is also well positioned to future-focused energy solutions, including lithium and hydrogen technologies.”

Primero Managing Director, Cameron Henry, added: “The combination of NRW’s diversified delivery model coupled with the Primero capabilities will provide our client base with a unique end to end delivery model that will differentiate within the current market and will rapidly accelerate Primero’s growth strategy.

“Our teams have been working well at multiple levels together over the past 12 months and have several projects currently approaching delivery stage that will showcase the model.”

Detailed information relating to the offer will be set out in the Bidder’s Statement and Target’s Statement, which are expected to be dispatched to Primero shareholders in late November and early December 2020, respectively, the companies noted.

Primero, Mineral Technologies enlisted for Strandline’s Coburn mineral sands project

Primero Group has been awarded preferred EPC status on a substantial contract with Strandline Resources on the Coburn mineral sands project in Western Australia.

The total volume of awarded engineering procurement and construction (EPC) works totals around A$150 million ($107 million), according to Primero, and follows an initial eight-week Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) process that provided further definition of the delivery strategy and project deliverables between the groups. It also coincided with the appointment of Mineral Technologies (MT), a global services provider and leader in the design and supply of mineral sands processing facilities (and a subsidiary of Downer Group), as the strategic technology partner alongside Primero for the project delivery.

Strandline said the contract involved the engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning and performance testing of the Wet Concentration Plant (WCP), Mineral Separation Plant (MSP) and associated processing circuits at the operation.

The Coburn WCP is designed to beneficiate the heavy minerals (ilmenite, leucoxene, rutile, zircon and monazite) and reject the non-valuable, lighter minerals through multiple stages of high capacity gravity separation and classification, according to Strandline. The rich heavy mineral concentrate produced from the WCP will be transported to the MSP and stockpiled ready for processing.

“The WCP infrastructure is relocatable and is planned to be moved several times during the mine life as the mine advances along the orebody,” Strandline said. “The MSP design comprises conventional electrostatic separation, gravity and magnetic fractionation to recover a range of premium-quality final products, including chloride ilmenite, rutile, premium zircon and zircon concentrate.”

The full project award is subject to Strandline Resources approving a Final Investment Decision in the coming months, Primero said. The ECI process came after Strandline’s recent A$18.5 million equity raising.

Primero Managing Director and CEO, Cameron Henry, said: “This award is an excellent example of Primero’s ECI phase in action and adds to our growing book of projects in preferred contractor status. We have worked intensively with Strandline over the past two months in designing a delivery solution that best meets the key project objectives and value drivers, while also minimising execution risks.”

Strandline has also already appointed Piacentini & Son to design and construct three mobile dozer mining units for the project, while Macmahon has been named as the principal contractor to provide site-wide civil and bulk earthworks construction services for the project.

Piedmont locks in Primero for lithium concentrator development

Piedmont Lithium has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Primero Group that could see the Australia-based engineering firm deliver the planned spodumene concentrator at the Piedmont lithium project in North Carolina, USA.

Piedmont says it and Primero have partnered since early 2018, with Primero having been the lead engineering consultant for Piedmont’s scoping studies, concentrator design, and metallurgical test work management.

“Building on this strong relationship, Piedmont and Primero have entered into the MoU to work together on an exclusive basis to agree binding documentation relating to the definitive feasibility study (DFS), front-end engineering design, EPC (engineering procurement and construction) delivery, commissioning, ramp-up and contract operations of the spodumene concentrator,” Piedmont said.

Referencing previous work of Primero’s, Piedmont said the engineering firm’s EPC and contract operations services at Alliance Minerals’ Bald Hill mine, in Australia, notably achieved nameplate capacity within two months of plant commissioning.

Cameron Henry, Managing Director of Primero, commented: “Piedmont is a world-class project surrounded by infrastructure and ideally located near potential customers in the USA’s auto alley.

“We look forward to applying our specialist expertise in project implementation and operations to assist Piedmont in advancing the only spodumene project currently under development in the United States.”

Keith D Phillips, President and CEO of Piedmont, said the MoU represented a key milestone as the company builds out its project execution team, “with an emphasis on working with proven processes and experienced professionals”.

The EPC and operations contract models contemplated by the MOU provide incentives for Primero to achieve safety, schedule, budget, process performance, production, and recovery targets, Piedmont said.

“The arrangements contemplated by the MoU create a delivery framework which significantly reduces technical, operational and commercial risks associated with the concentrator,” it added.

“The company continues to evaluate other strategic partnerships that could enhance performance in the design, construction and operations of other aspects of Piedmont’s integrated lithium hydroxide business.”

The prefeasibility study on the Piedmont lithium project, released earlier this year, envisaged two options – a “Merchant” project and an “Integrated” project. Both included an annual average lithium hydroxide production (steady-state) of 22,720 t, but only the latter included 160,000 t/y of 6% Li2O spodumene concentrate production over the 25-year mine life.

Primero Group lands contract addition at Rio Tinto’s Koodaideri project

Multi-disciplinary engineering and contracting firm, Primero Group, says it has been awarded a material contract extension to the existing Koodaideri Non-Process Infrastructure (NPI) contract awarded in late 2019 by Rio Tinto.

Under the extension, the company will construct the Koodaideri Airport Terminal and Infrastructure, with the contract valued at around A$20 million ($14 million). This will involve the construction delivery of the works to be completed in parallel with the existing contract programmed for completion in 2021.

The contract value of the entire NPI contract now stands at circa-A$150 million, compared with the A$115 million under the original award. The difference represents additional “options selections” that Rio confirmed and included for implementation at the project earlier this year.

Primero’s workforce on the project will peak at approximately 180 personnel and site construction work is well underway, the company noted.

Construction on Koodaideri Phase 1 started in 2019 with first production expected in late 2021. Once complete, the $2.6 billion mine will have an annual capacity of 43 Mt, underpinning production of the company’s flagship iron ore product, Pilbara Blend, Rio says.

With this recent NPI contract addition, Primero’s financial year 2021 contracted order book now stands at approximately A$220 million, the company said.

Primero Managing Director and CEO, Cameron Henry, said: “It is pleasing to be awarded further core NPI work from such a great project partner and Tier 1 client as Rio Tinto. We continue to deliver to plan across all major project works and are increasingly optimistic about the operating and growth outlook for the next year and beyond.”

Primero gets the nod for process plant work at Core’s Finniss lithium project

Primero Group has been conditionally awarded a multi-year build-own operate (BOO) and operations and maintenance (O&M) contract with Core Lithium at the Finniss project, near Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia.

In addition to this, Primero has also secured recent early contractor involvement (ECI) contract wins with Agrimin Ltd (Mackay sulphate of potash project) and Hazer Group (hydrogen commercial demo plant), both of which deliver strong follow-on potential for large-scale engineering procurement and construction (EPC) contract roles, the company says.

The agreement with Core, worth around A$100 million ($69.9 million) at Finniss, follows the company being named preferred EPC contractor status early this year. The contract also offers the opportunity for extension after the initial four-year term, Primero said.

Furthering Primero’s partnering contract model, the preferred contractor status has been extended to include conditional award of Primero’s first BOO contract for the crushing and screening circuit, the EPC and the complete O&M for the processing facility, Primero said.

Core’s development of Finniss is initially centred on production from the high-grade Grants deposit as an open-pit mining operation and construction of a 1 Mt/y dense media separation process plant to produce a 5% Li2O spodumene concentrate for export.

The prefeasibility study on the project envisaged a total capex of A$53.55 million and A$168 million in free cash generation over a period of 26 months based on a price of $649/t for its concentrate.

Primero Managing Director, Cameron Henry, said: “Primero is continuing to build a strong foundation and reputation for delivery. Current revenue run rates demonstrate our ability to concurrently manage growth and deliver on multiple projects, across various Australian and global jurisdictions. Our existing client relationships, and the repeat nature of large amounts of our business, provide a strong platform from which to drive and achieve our strategic goals.”