TNG has signed up SMS Group to carry out the front-end engineering and design (FEED) phase of its Mount Peake vanadium-titanium-iron project in the Northern Territory of Australia.
The mandate for the contract encompasses the Mount Peake concentrator, the TIVAN® processing plant and all associated plant and equipment.
The two companies have been working together on the TIVAN process for some time. The process, developed by the two companies and Perth, Australia-based metallurgical consultants METS and the CSIRO, has been primarily designed for hydro-metallurgical extraction of vanadium, preferably as vanadium pentoxide, from a titano-magnetite orebody and also for separating the titanium and iron, preferably as ferric oxide and titanium dioxide.
The process has undergone more than six years of development including several successful pilot plant test stages, and is designed to use conventional and existing equipment currently used in extractive resources, TNG says.
In addition to the FEED contract for the process, plant and equipment, SMS’ scope will include providing a proposal for full procurement and construction, including the balance of plant and equipment to be provided on a turnkey, single-source, fixed price EPC basis.
Under the contract, SMS will now design and engineer the entire processing flowsheet for Mount Peake, which includes the concentrator, where magnetite concentrate is to be produced, and the downstream processing plant, where three high-purity products – vanadium pentoxide, titanium dioxide and iron oxide – will be produced.
Interestingly, SMS has agreed to provide to TNG production quantity, production rate and production quality guarantees, elements TNG Managing Director Paul Burton (pictured, left) said would significantly “de-risk” the project.
SMS’s responsible Managing Director Herbert Weissenbaeck (pictured, right) said the agreement was the logical next step in the development of TIVAN and Mount Peake – “which together have the potential to essentially disrupt the TiO2 pigment and vanadium space”.
The downstream processing plant will use TNG’s 100%-owned TIVAN process. The scope of work for the plant will include a titanium pigment plant – to be developed in collaboration with its nominated sub-contractor Ti-Cons.
An updated definitive feasibility study on Mount Peake from 2017 envisaged pre-production capex of A$853 million ($617 million) for a 3 Mt/y project ramping up to 6 Mt/y in year five. This would see 24.3 Mt of magnetic concentrate turned into 10.6 Mt iron oxide and 243,000 t of vanadium oxide.