Tag Archives: concentrator

Pantoro enlists GR Engineering to build Norseman gold processing plant

Pantoro Ltd has signed a Letter of Intent with GR Engineering Services that is likely to see the ASX-listed contractor take on the engineering, procurement and construction works for the processing facility at the Norseman gold project in Western Australia.

The gold company, which owns 50% of the asset, said detailed engineering works will commence immediately and orders will be placed for long lead items including the 3.3 MW ball mill. Contract documentation is being finalised and is expected to be executed before the end of February.

The contract value is around A$57 million ($44 million) and will be awarded as a guaranteed maximum price agreement, Pantoro noted. This value is inclusive of the crushing circuit associated with the plant.

The DFS announced in October 2020 contemplated a build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) arrangement for the crusher at Norseman with the transfer planned in year three.

This study also outlined average production of 108,000 oz/y over a seven-year phase one life, peaking at 119,000 oz in year two of production. It also provided for a processing plant capacity of 1 Mt/y with flexibility to expand to 1.5 Mt/y.

Separately, demolition works for the existing plant on site have been awarded with commencement of site works planned for mid-February.

Pantoro Managing Director, Paul Cmrlec, said: “We are pleased that GR Engineering Services will undertake work with their proven track record in new processing plant builds in recent years. GR Engineering has been the dominant supplier of new processing plant builds in Western Australia in recent times, and we look forward to drawing on their experience in construction of the plant at Norseman.”

Tronox’s Cooljarloo mine feels the benefits of Weir Minerals Total Asset Management Plan

Weir Minerals says it has further strengthened its partnership with Tronox following the signing of an exclusive arrangement to take ownership of maintenance, asset management and optimisation of the mine’s key assets.

Weir Minerals’ Total Asset Management Plan is a “unique and innovative” service contract that is revolutionising mining operations, with improved performance and a reduction in unplanned maintenance time, the company says.

Such a plan was successfully implemented at the Tronox mine in Cooljarloo, Western Australia, with Weir Minerals managing 20 assets including slurry pumps on the plant, two floating dredges and a floating concentrator which processes over 3,000 t/h of heavy mineral concentrate.

Tronox produces more than 770,000 t/y of heavy mineral concentrate using a dredging operation and dry mining techniques at Cooljarloo, Tronox says. The dredging operation recovers heavy minerals from the sand and clay using a series of gravity spirals, with the dry mine using earthmoving equipment to extract ore located above the water table, feeding it to a land-based concentrator for separation using a hopper and conveyor system.

Daniel Fleckhammer, Weir Minerals Director, said: “The Weir Minerals team worked closely with Tronox to determine what their goals and vision for their mine were. The team then developed a tailored Total Asset Management Plan which aimed to look after the customer’s assets, improve their wear life and keep the mine running.”

Weir Minerals successfully helped Tronox reduce its maintenance costs by 10% and cut unplanned maintenance by 30%, according to the company. The miner is also now able to transition from a six-month shutdown cycle to an eight-month shutdown cycle, which will save the mine over A$1 million/y ($774,802/y) on maintenance costs. Weir estimates this increased reliability is potentially worth over A$1 million/y in additional productivity.

Dave Netherway, Tronox Maintenance Manager at Cooljarloo, said the Total Asset Management Plan the company has in place with Weir Minerals means it pays “on a cents per tonne” arrangement based on the throughput through the plant.

“Weir have skin in the game with the way we operate,” he said.

Being located on site, the Weir Minerals team is prepared for crucial maintenance and gains vital insights into the customer’s issues.

“By leveraging their worldwide expertise in pump technology, the team proactively evaluate each asset and provide outstanding service to Tronox,” the company says.

A clear set of key performance indicators developed in conjunction with Tronox enable Weir Minerals to increase savings and improve the reliability of assets, it says. Both companies work towards a common goal that is mutually beneficial to all.

Ian Rennie, Tronox Site Director at Cooljarloo, said: “If other companies around the world are looking at this type of agreement, I’d really encourage them to explore it. At Tronox, we’ve only been touching the surface for a year now and we really see some huge benefits already.”

Full speed ahead for Wiluna Mining sulphide gold project

Wiluna Mining’s board has approved the staged development of its sulphide project at the Wiluna gold operation in Western Australia, enlisting GR Engineering Services to build the 750,000 t/y concentrator required to process the ore.

The development will see the company transition from its current production profile of producing 62,000 oz/y from mining free milling ore through the current 2.1 Mt/y carbon-in-leach processing facility, initially producing 100,000-120,000 oz/y of gold and gold in concentrate.

This will be implemented using the current, recently refurbished crushing circuit, the previously expanded mill circuit and a new 750,000 t/y concentrator by October 2021, the company said. This forms Stage 1 of the project. Wiluna then intends to increase production of gold and gold in concentrate by, at a minimum, doubling the mining rate and the concentrator to produce circa-250,000 oz/y by the end of 2023/early 2024. This is Stage 2.

Of the A$81 million ($58 million) capital cost estimate of the sulphide project, of which around A$20 million has already been committed, the concentrator is expected to cost A$26 million, pre-production underground mine activities/infrastructure development is estimated at A$37 million, drilling comes in at A$9 million and the feasibility study had a A$2 million price tag. A 10% contingency of A$7 million was also calculated.

Wiluna said Murray Engineering has been contracted to supply and maintain mine fleet for current production associated development and stoping, while Byrnecut Contractors have been engaged to provide equipment and personnel for existing development rehabilitation and new development for resource-reserve drill out programs and production from new mine areas.

To complement the current equipment and development work, the first development crew from Byrnecut is expected to be mobilised in the December quarter with further development crews to be mobilised during June 2021 to maintain the required work program, the company said.

GR Engineering has been appointed as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor by Wiluna for Stage 1 works relating to the concentrator development, the engineering firm said, adding that it expects to commence work in early December with commissioning scheduled for October 2021.

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.