Tag Archives: kaolin

WA Kaolin’s Wickepin kaolin processing plan gains momentum

WA Kaolin Ltd says building works have commenced at its wholly owned Wickepin kaolin project, in Western Australia, as the ASX-listed company looks to start up production from a “world-leading” kaolin processing plant.

AUSPAN, one of Australia’s leading steel frame construction companies, has been contracted to carry out the Stage 1 Building Structural Design and Construction at the project. The company has now mobilised to site to commence its work program with a team of around 20 ramping up over coming weeks.

The concrete batching plant was delivered to site on January 6, and work has commenced on the footings and part of the slab being laid ahead of the plant build, WA Kaolin said.

A 2020 definitive feasibility study completed by BDB Process on the Wickepin kaolin project showed the potential for the project to ramp up to 400,000 t/y through the development of the processing plant and extraction of the 30.5 Mt of high-grade premium kaolinised granite reserves within the existing Mining Lease.

The company plans to use its proprietary dry K99 processing method on ore from the two existing open-pit deposits at Wickepin. This involves drying and beneficiation through physical separation with no chemicals required. The simple and proven process is already operating on a small-scale commercial basis in Kwinana where the company operates a small plant, WA Kaolin says.

Andrew Sorensen, WA Kaolin CEO said: “Our 2021 work program has already commenced in earnest with the arrival of the crew and equipment to proceed with the initial building works of the kaolin production plant. At this point, we are on track to commence the build in February and will provide regular updates to the market as we proceed.”

Ben Richardson, General Manager, AUSPAN, added: “Mobilisation is well under way and construction on site is ramping up following the Christmas break. Footings are almost complete and we will be ramping up to a construction team of approximately 25 by early February.

“It is exciting to be working with WA Kaolin on this world-leading Kaolin processing plant. With approximately 100 t of structural steel already delivered to site, the landscape is about to change with the commencement of structural steel installation.”

WA Kaolin’s plan is to increase production at Wickepin to 400,000 t/y by 2023 with further modular increases to capacity to be implemented in tune with market demand.

GR Engineering secures EPC contract with Tellus at the Sandy Ridge kaolin project

GR Engineering Services has entered into an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract with Tellus Holdings Ltd for its Sandy Ridge kaolin project in Western Australia.

Tellus, a public unlisted infrastructure development company in the business of developing geological repositories that provide waste storage, recovery and permanent isolation solutions and complementary salt and clay products, says it is after a fully integrated facility for the long-term storage, recovery and permanent isolation of hazardous and intractable waste and an associated kaolin mining operation, some 75 km northeast of Koolyanobbing, in Coolgardie.

The contract price is around A$50 million ($36 million), with the works to be delivered under a guaranteed maximum price model, GR Engineering said.

The company’s scope of work under the contract includes the EPC and commissioning of the waste cell infrastructure, access roads, raw water supply and other key facility infrastructure for the Sandy Ridge underground waste facility.

The contract is expected to be carried out in two stages, with stage one comprising engineering and design and long-lead procurement activities for the work. This stage is anticipated to commence in the coming weeks, subject to the satisfaction of conditions precedent, which primarily relate to Tellus’ proposed financing facilities.

Stage two execution of the works is intended to commence mid-year, subject to Tellus satisfying additional conditions relating to the balance of the Sandy Ridge project approvals, GR Engineering said. Stage two includes mining of the first open-pit kaolin pit (waste cell), plus container yards, site warehouses and offices, roads, a 71-room accommodation village and associated services and utilities.

Tellus said the facility commissioning and full operations are scheduled from early-2020.

GR Engineering’s Managing Director, Geoff Jones, said: “We are pleased to progress this opportunity with Tellus, which has followed GR Engineering’s involvement to date in the Sandy Ridge project’s feasibility study and preliminary design work.”

In addition to this contract, Tellus has signed a circa-A$2 million PMC contract with Turner & Townsend providing project management services that support the Tellus owners team in managing all development phase contracts including the EPC contract (above); ancillary construction and equipment supply contracts; and key operational contracts.

Tellus is proposing to develop the Sandy Ridge facility, Australia’s first dual open-pit kaolin mine and arid near-surface geological waste repository in a 70 million-year-old kaolin clay bed with a 25-year operating licence. The proposal would involve mining up to 290,000 t/y of kaolin clay and receiving up to 100,000 t/y of Class IV and V waste at the facility gate over 25 years.