Tag Archives: DRA Global

Mkango, Grupa Azoty PULAWY assess potential for Polish rare earth separation plant

Mkango Resources has joined with Grupa Azoty Zakłady Azotowe Pulawy SA to work towards development of a rare earth separation plant in Poland.

A new Polish wholly owned subsidiary of Mkango, Mkango Polska, has been established, with an experienced Country Director for Poland, Jarosław Pączek, appointed. Pączek will be joined by rare earth separation experts, Carester, and a strong team of technical advisors and engineers to help steer the collaboration.

Grupa Azoty PULAWY is part of The Grupa Azoty Group, the EU’s second largest manufacturer of nitrogen and compound fertilisers, and a major chemicals producer. Its products are exported to over 20 countries around the world, including Europe, the Americas and Asia, according to Mkango.

The parties have signed an exclusive lease option agreement for a site adjacent to Grupa Azoty PULAWY’s large-scale fertiliser and chemicals complex at Pulawy in Poland. This location is served by excellent infrastructure, access to reagents and utilities on site, and an attractive operating environment, resulting in a highly competitive operating cost position for the plant, based on scoping studies to date, Mkango says.

“Located within a Polish Special Economic Zone, the site provides excellent access to European and international markets,” it added. “Production from the plant will strengthen Europe’s security of supply for rare earths, used in electric vehicles, wind turbines and other green technology and strategic applications, and aligns with European initiatives to create more robust, diversified supply chains.”

The plant is expected to initially produce approximately 2,000 t/y of neodymium, praseodymium and/or didymium (NdPr) oxides as well as a heavy rare earth enriched carbonate, containing approximately 50 t/y dysprosium and terbium oxides. It is also expected to produce lanthanum cerium carbonate. Mkango is also evaluating marketing and processing options for the heavy rare earth enriched carbonate and lanthanum cerium carbonate.

“The plant will use best-in-class, conventional and proven technology, and will benefit from excellent rail and road infrastructure as well as the direct supply of the required processing reagents from Grupa Azoty PULAWY,” Mkango said. “It will also have access to a local skilled workforce, on-site engineering and project development expertise and R&D science institutes.”

Based on scoping studies undertaken to date, the plant is expected to have highly competitive operating costs.

Further feasibility studies will be completed by Carester, SENET (a DRA Global Group company) and a local engineering firm, Prozap, together with support from Grupa Azoty PULAWY. Mkango is also working closely with ANSTO to optimise feed specifications for the plant.

Development of the plant is expected to be underpinned by the sustainable supply of a purified mixed rare earth carbonate from Mkango’s Songwe Hill project in Malawi (pictured). Mkango will also evaluate the potential to process third-party feeds. The feasibility studies for the plant will run in parallel with those for the Songwe Hill rare earths project.

Mkango says it will also seek to maximise the renewable energy content and minimise the carbon impact of the developments in both Malawi and Poland, as part of the feasibility studies.

William Dawes, Chief Executive of Mkango, said: “Development of this plant will underline Mkango’s unique positioning in the rare earths sector. Our integrated ‘mine, refine, recycle’ strategy, encompassing sustainably sourced light (NdPr) and heavy (Dy/Tb) rare earths from Malawi and rare earth magnet (NdFeB) recycling in the UK, via our interest in HyProMag, is now enhanced by the opportunity to create a rare earths separation and downstream hub in Poland, working with one of Europe’s largest chemical and fertiliser companies.

“Rare earths are a vital component of magnets required in many technologies needed for the green energy transition. Therefore, their security of supply is becoming increasingly important to governments worldwide, especially in Europe and the US.

“We have carried out extensive due diligence on the site and believe the development of the plant in Poland will enhance the sustainable supply of rare earths into Europe, as well as bringing significant benefits to the region, creating new jobs and potential, additional, downstream developments.”

Andrzej Skwarek, Management Board Member of Grupa Azoty PULAWY, said: “We look forward to working together with Mkango on this exciting project, which complements the adjacent activities of Grupa Azoty PULAWY, benefiting from synergies in relation to reagents, by-products, utilities and infrastructure. As an industry leader in Poland, Grupa Azoty PULAWY welcomes this potential new development to the region and will continue to support Mkango as it progresses through the feasibility studies.”

Jarosław Pączek, Mkango’s Country Director for Poland, said: “This is a very exciting development for Poland at a time when Europe is focused on strengthening supply chains for critical materials and transitioning to a greener economy. The creation of a new European hub for rare earths at the heart of central Europe in Poland complements battery, electric vehicle and renewable energy developments in the region, with a site strategically located for European trade and transport routes and benefiting from plug and play access to reagents and utilities. I look forward to working with Mkango and Grupa Azoty PULAWY on this ground-breaking project for Poland and Europe.”

Anglo’s Quellaveco to receive the coarse particle recovery treatment

Anglo American has approved the construction of a coarse particle recovery (CPR) plant at its in-development Quellaveco copper project in Peru.

The announcement came within the company’s 2020 financial results, which showed Anglo generated underlying EBITDA of $9.8 billion and a profit attributable to equity shareholders of $2.1 billion for the year.

CPR, Anglo says, is one of many significant breakthrough technology initiatives that has the potential to increase throughput and productivity, while simultaneously reducing environmental footprint, through rejection of coarse gangue (near-worthless waste material), dry stacking of sand waste, minimising the production of traditional tailings and reducing overall water consumption.

The CPR plant signoff at Quellaveco follows a full-scale demo plant installation at the company’s El Soldado mine in Chile – which is ramping up to full capacity by mid-2021 – and the decision to construct a full-scale system at the Mogalakwena North PGM concentrator in South Africa.

The El Soldado plant used the HydroFloat™ CPR technology from Eriez’s Flotation Division. Here, a single 5 m diameter HydroFloat cell, the largest in the world, treats 100% of mill throughput, with the objective of proving the waste rejection process at full scale.

Anglo said of the Quellaveco CPR plant: “This breakthrough technology will initially allow retreatment of coarse particles from flotation tailings to improve recoveries by circa-3% on average over the life of the mine. This investment will also enable future throughput expansion which will bring a reduction in energy and water consumption per unit of production.”

The capital expenditure of the CPR project is around $130 million, with commissioning of the new plant expected in 2022. DRA Global previously carried out a feasibility study for the CPR plant at Quellaveco.

In terms of Quellaveco project progress, Anglo said today that, despite the COVID-19-related slowdown, first production was still expected in 2022. This was, in part, due to the excellent progress achieved prior to the national lockdown, and based on optimised construction and commissioning plans, Anglo said.

Key activities in 2021 include the start of pre-stripping, which will see the first greenfield use of automated hauling technology in Peru; progressing construction of the primary crusher and ore transport conveyor tunnel to the plant; completion of the 95 km freshwater pipeline that will deliver water from the water source area to the Quellaveco site; completing installation of the shells and motors for both milling lines; and completion of the tailings starter dam.

The mine, owned 60% by Anglo and 40% by Mitsubishi Corp, comes with a production blueprint of 300,000 t/y over the first 10 years of the mine.

DRA Global to deliver Carmichael coal handling and preparation plant

DRA Global has won its second major contract on the Bravus Mining & Resources-owned Carmichael coal project, in Queensland, Australia, with the engineering firm set to deliver the project’s A$140 million ($108 million) coal processing plant.

Bravus CEO, David Boshoff, said DRA was known for its exceptional service to the Australian resources sector, and previous work on the Carmichael project building the coal handling plant (CHP) had demonstrated its experience and capability.

The coal handling plant (CHP) and the coal preparation plant (CPP) will work together to prepare and process the coal to meet market specifications at Carmichael.

The CPP is designed to process the coal, using recycled water and density separation processes so that the product that goes into market is more energy efficient and environmentally friendly, DRA says.

DRA will carry out the engineering, design and construction of the CHP and the CPP at Carmichael. Included within this is the supply and construction of coal processing infrastructure; supply and construction of coal sizing and conveying equipment; construction of coal stockpiling infrastructure; and construction of the train load out infrastructure to enable loading of trains.

According to the original project description from October 2013 authored by engineering services company GHD, the project’s coal handling and preparation plant has been designed to receive, size and process a maximum throughput of 74.5 Mt/y run of mine coal, producing 60 Mt/y of product coal. However, this is the maximum approved production level. Initial mine production will be 10 Mt/y with a surface mine capacity of 40 Mt/y, rising to 60 Mt/y when the underground mine comes online.

DRA Global CEO, Andrew Naude, said: “DRA is delighted to have been awarded an additional major contract on the Carmichael project and to be able to continue creating employment opportunities and supporting the Central Queensland region.”

Boshoff said: “The CHP resizes the coal and the CPP processes the coal to meet final product quality requirements and in doing so it is more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. It is these facilities that will see Carmichael coal become some of the better-quality coal from around the world.”

He added: “Every week we are reaching exciting new major milestones on the Carmichael mine and rail projects bringing us a step closer to the reality of completion. We are on track and looking forward to producing first coal in 2021.”

DRA Global’s ‘total solutions offering’ put to the test at Exxaro’s Grootegeluk mine

DRA Global says it has continued to sustain its long-term client relationship with Exxaro Resources through the progressive engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contract at the Grootegeluk coal asset in South Africa.

Exxaro’s Grootegeluk is an open-pit coal mine, 20 km from Lephalale in Limpopo province. The mine produced 26 Mt/y final coal products, using a conventional truck and shovel operation, and has an estimated mineable coal reserve of 3,261 Mt, and a total measured coal resource of 4,719 Mt.

“A project of this magnitude speaks to the extensive experience in project development and delivery extended to the client by DRA,” DRA says.

DRA’s specialist engineering expertise and total solutions package at Exxaro’s Grootegeluk includes, but is not limited to:

  • Bankable feasibility study;
  • Installation of a new PC2 Discard Conveyor alongside the current PC1 Discard Conveyor;
  • Installation of new bifurcated transfer chutes to discharge onto either PC1 or PC2 Conveyor;
  • Seven transfers in total that requires conversion; and
  • Construction of associated infrastructure; such as stormwater control, road crossing, new spillage collection and a transfer system.

Furthermore, DRA recently completed the 3D scanning of existing conveyors and accompanying infrastructure. The compiling of the 3D model has commenced and will inform the engineering of the various transfer towers and the new PC2 Conveyor onto the next phase, it said.

Exxarro, in 2018, initially awarded DRA a contract to construct a 500 t/h coal handling and preparation plant at the Belfast Implementation project, in Mpumalanga.

“The client’s faith in DRA showcases the proficiency in implementing large-scale coal projects and further solidifies the organisations’ reputation for successful project delivery (even under these new circumstances),” it said.

Alistair Hodgkinson, Senior Vice President at DRA, said: “Grootegeluk is just one of many projects under DRA that provides an excellent opportunity to showcase our engineering capability. This is a complex brownfields project that will require attention to detail to achieve successful construction during a tight shutdown deadline; the client values our reputation for being able to deliver challenging brownfields projects successfully.”

The project commenced in the September quarter and is forecasted for completion by the June quarter of 2021.

DRA under budget and ahead of schedule at NST’s Jundee expansion project

DRA Global says it has completed its engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contract under budget and ahead of time for Northern Star Resources at the Jundee gold mine, near Wiluna, Western Australia.

The Jundee mining operation is situated in the Northern Yandal Greenstone Belt, with the mine yielding a record 300,000 oz for Northern Star in the year ending June 30, 2020.

Jundee’s processing circuit comprises a two-stage crushing circuit, SAG and ball mill, and conventional carbon-in-leach plant. The ball mill upgrade, undertaken by DRA, increased processing plant capacity to a nominal design throughput rate of 2.7 Mt/y, from 2.2 Mt/y.

DRA delivered the EPCM project scope under budget and ahead of time, with ore commissioning achieved some six weeks ahead of schedule in a total duration of 35 weeks, it said.

“DRA’s project team achieved this outcome by working in close collaboration with the Northern Star project and operations team, the equipment vendors and construction sub-contractors,” it said.

Delivery of the project required overcoming challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, including risk mitigation strategies being initiated to maintain the accelerated project schedule, according to the company.

Northern Star’s General Manager Processing, Simon Tyrrell, said DRA had consistently met and exceeded performance expectations through a collaborative approach to the Jundee ball mill project delivery.

DRA was engaged on the EPCM contract after having completed an engineering and cost study which included scope definition, design, planning, capital and operating cost estimation. The project follows several previous plant upgrades and studies successfully completed by DRA at the Jundee gold mine, which have contributed towards the continuous production growth seen at the mine over the last four-to-five years, DRA said.

The process plant shutdown and tie-in of the new ball mill was performed in conjunction with the Northern Star operations team and contractors without incident, and the process plant has since ramped up to run consistently above nameplate design capacity, the company added.

AYA Gold & Silver enlists DRA division for Zgounder expansion study

AYA Gold & Silver says it has launched the feasibility study for the expansion of its Zgounder silver mine in Morocco in partnership with Montreal-based DRA Met-Chem, a division of DRA Global.

AYA is also engaging several contractors with specific competencies related to the feasibility study, it said.

The Zgounder silver mine currently operates at around 500 t/d with nameplate capacity of 700 t/d. AYA believes the feasibility study will support a significant increase in tonnage, with a preliminary target of 2,000 t/d.

“This target will be further defined in the coming months and is consistent with internal resource growth assumptions,” it said.

A 2018 preliminary economic assessment on Zgounder estimated a project life of 10 years with the current resources up to 2027, with milling increasing to 2,000 t/d in 2021 and silver production rising from 1.354 Moz/y to 4.762 Moz/y.

DRA is recognised for its capabilities in mining and mineral processing and for its experienced engineering, technical and project management expertise, AYA said.

Benoit La Salle, President and CEO of AYA, said the strong silver fundamentals, as well as the company’s planned drilling exploration program, gave it confidence in growing the resource and the expansion potential of Zgounder.

“The feasibility study is an important step forward to maximise shareholder value,” he said. “We are assembling a highly qualified team of experts to complete the study by Q4 (December quarter) 2021.”

Daniel Gagnon, Senior Vice President at DRA Met-Chem, said the company was delighted to work with AYA and its team.

“We have historically worked in Morocco and look forward to leveraging our expertise in country and in precious metals to help optimise production and to deliver value to all stakeholders.”

DRA to design, supply and construct SOP processing plant for Kalium Lakes

DRA Global says it has been awarded the engineering procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the Kalium Lakes-owned Beyondie sulphate of potash (SOP) project in Western Australia.

The scope of work will be the design, supply, and construction of the 90,000 t/y SOP processing plant, with a provision for future expansion to 180,000 t/y, the company said.

“As a total solutions partner, the awarding of the Beyondie EPC contract highlights the confidence in DRA’s specialised expertise,” Greg McRostie, Executive Vice President of DRA Global in APAC, said. “We are excited to be partnering with Kalium Lakes Limited on this innovative Australian project.”

DRA was already involved with the purification plant at Beyondie, having been awarded an engineering, procurement and construction management contract last year.

DRA Global to help debottleneck Anglo American Platinum’s Unki PGM concentrator

DRA Global says it has been awarded an engineering procurement and construction management contract to expand Anglo American Platinum’s Unki platinum group metals concentrator, in Zimbabwe.

The engineering company was previously enlisted to carry out a feasibility study on the expansion, referred to as the “debottlenecking” project by Anglo American Platinum, and will now help increase throughput capacity to 210,000 t/mth, it said.

The Unki concentrator, built in 2010, can currently treat up to 180,000 t/mth according to Anglo American Platinum. It processes material from the Unki mine, one the world’s largest PGM deposits outside of South Africa, the miner says.

Anglo American Platinum, in its 2019 results released earlier this year, said it had signed off on the R700 million ($39 million) debottlenecking project and expected commissioning to be completed in the September quarter of 2021.

Unki has steadily been ramping up production in recent years. In 2019, it produced a record 202,000 oz of platinum group metals, up from 193,000 oz in 2018 and 166,000 oz in 2017.

Dargues gold mine on the road to production: DRA Global

DRA Global says it is in the final stages of the implementation of the engineering procurement and construction (EPC) of the gold concentrate plant for Diversified Minerals’ Dargues gold project, in New South Wales, Australia.

The engineering company was awarded the EPC contract back in January 2019 after detailed design for the project commenced in March 2018. At this point, first ore was expected to be processed in early 2020.

As of March 2020, the plant construction and wet commissioning has been completed, DRA said. Hot commissioning is planned to take place soon and expected to be completed in early April. After this, the DRA team will hand over the 330,000 t/y plant to the client’s operations team, it said.

Dargues, owned by Diversified Minerals, an associated company of PYBAR Mining Services, was previously expected to have a 355,000 t/y capacity gold processing facility comprising crushing, milling, flotation and filtration circuits to produce a sulphide concentrate for export. This could see Dargues produce an average of 50,000 oz/y of gold in the first six years of production.

The mine, which will be operated by PYBAR, is also set to incorporate tele-remote loading. In December, Diversified Minerals took delivery of a second new Cat R1700 underground LHD following commissioning of the first loader during August.

The new machines are equipped with Caterpillar’s next generation Command for Underground technology, giving them automation capabilities that will allow them to be driven via tele-remote from the surface from early-2020. This will realise significant productivity, efficiency and safety gains, according to PYBAR.

Members of the Austmine Board were recently invited to a tour of the Dargues gold mine (pictured).

DRA to run the ore sorting numbers at Nova Minerals’ Korbel gold deposit

Nova Minerals has engaged DRA Global to conduct Phase 1 and 2 ore sorting test work at the Korbel gold deposit, in Alaska, USA.

This work will help continue Nova’s progression of the deposit towards a future low strip, bulk minable, heap leach operation, it said.

This is not the first ore sorting remit the engineering firm has had. Back in November, DRA was instructed by Snow Lake Resources to look into ore sorting options at the Thompson Brothers lithium project, in Manitoba, Canada. Snow Lake Resources was previously spun out of Nova Minerals.

The objective of the study through 2020 is to assess the suitability of sorting applicable to the specific style of mineralisation contained at Korbel. It will also involve test work, design, management and supervision to determine ore sorting amenability. Additionally, the study will assess the overall impact of the ore sorting circuit in a future flowsheet. This will include completion of a dynamic simulation in phase 2 to establish ore sorting stockpile and ore sorting requirements for the optimal capital expenditure (capex), operating expenditure, operability and maintainability of the overall process plant.

High level deliverables will include generation of process mass and water balances, mechanical equipment list, and a concept level (AACE Class 5) capex estimate for the entire plant.

The company said: “Nova recognises the need for sorting studies early on in the mine development cycle. These kinds of studies help to keep moving the project towards prefeasibility.”

In addition, the sorting study will run concurrently with the 2020 resource drilling program. Subject to drilling and positive results, Nova sees various processing options at Korbel. These options include heap leach, carbon-in-pulp (CIP) circuit, or a combination of the two.

Nova Minerals Managing Director, Avi Kimelman, said: “We are very pleased with the progress that the company is making towards delivering on its plan to rapidly unlocking the Estelle Gold District through both significantly increasing resources and fast tracking the Block B ‘Starter Pit’ to development. This sorting test work commencing simultaneously with our drilling maintains our strategy of saving time, resources and money by streamlining data and productivity to deliver strong shareholder returns in as short a timeframe as possible whilst still ensuring that the technical and economic possibilities are fully understood and progressed.”

Kimelman said Nova’s greatest accomplishment in 2019 was proving up 2.5 Moz of gold in the inferred resource category in a very short period of time and demonstrating “exceptional” gold leach recoveries averaging 76% at the Korbel deposit (one of 15 known prospects).

“We look forward to amplifying our exploration and project development efforts in 2020 and are committed to keeping our shareholders constantly updated on our progress.”