Tag Archives: Karratha

BCI Minerals signs up WHBO Infrastructure, Engenium for Mardie work

BCI Minerals Limited has confirmed around A$90 million ($68 million) of contract awards for its Mardie Salt & Potash project, in Western Australia, ahead of a final investment decision (FID).

The initial earthworks contract has been awarded to WBHO Infrastructure, a contractor with a long history of project delivery excellence in large civil construction projects and a strong presence in Western Australia.

The contract includes initial construction of the large-scale trial pond scheduled to commence in April, as well as construction of evaporation ponds 1 and 2, on terms aligned with definitive feasibility study (DFS) budget assumptions once the FID is achieved and required tenure and approvals are in place. The total earthworks volume in this scope is approximately 800,000 cu.m over an area of 24 sq.km.

Engenium, the successful tenderer for the Project Management Contractor role, is a Western Australian company with offices in Perth and Karratha. Engenium, which recently signed a letter of intent that could see it acquired by Stantec, was selected for its local and experienced team, proven track record in project delivery and construction management, excellent health and safety record and pricing within the DFS budget, BCI said.

“The PMC is an important contract in the overall execution of the Mardie project which will see Engenium manage the construction program through the provision of people and systems as an extension of the BCI owners’ team,” it said. “Engagement of Engenium on a staged basis will also support BCI to achieve construction-ready status ahead of main construction commencing in the second half of 2021.”

Various smaller contracts covering accommodation village expansion, minor earthworks, site surveys, communications, water supply, fuel storage and supply as well as the Karratha office fit-out have also been awarded this year. These works are all underway with Pilbara-based contractors expanding Mardie village and fitting-out the Karratha office and local indigenous companies carrying out aboriginal heritage surveys and minor earthworks.

BCI’s Managing Director, Alwyn Vorster, said: “The award of the initial earthworks contract, in particular, represents a key milestone in BCI’s progress toward main construction and demonstrates board confidence in Mardie’s development pathway. These contracts will be initially funded from BCI’s healthy cash balance and strong Iron Valley royalty income.”

The Mardie DFS outcomes indicated that the production of 4.4 Mt/y of high purity salt and 120,000 t/y of premium sulphate of potash (SOP) fertiliser was technically and financially viable. The total capital cost came in at A$779 million and the pre-tax net present value (7% discount) was A$1.197 billion.

A FID by the BCI Board is targeted in the June quarter, which will be followed by completion of the funding task. Construction could commence in mid-2021, which will allow for first salt sales in 2024 and first SOP sales in 2025, the company says.

Steinert ore sorting tech picks up the Beaton’s Creek gold fine print

Novo Resources says initial laboratory-scale tests using Steinert mechanical ore sorting technology indicates an upgrade of gold into significantly reduced mass is achievable at the Beaton’s Creek project in Western Australia.

The mechanical sorting tests carried out in Australia on the Beaton’s Creek bulk sample showed that nuggety gold occurring in Beaton’s Creek conglomerates is finer grained (generally sub 1 mm) than gold at Novo’s Egina and Karratha projects (generally over 1 mm), the company said. The company is also considering using ore sorting at these two projects.

Test work was conducted on a 2.8 t split of crushed (-50 mm) and screened Beaton’s Creek bulk sample material, with analyses conducted as part of this sorting test work generating a calculated head grade of 5.72 g/t Au for the bulk sample. The vast majority of gold reported to mechanically sorted concentrates in each of the three size fractions tested, with 90.2% of gold recovered in 54.5% of the mass of the +18/-50 mm fraction; 68.8% of gold recovered in 42.4% of the mass of the +6/-18 mm fraction; and 95.5% of gold recovered in 20.3% of the mass of the +2.3/-6 mm fraction.

Material finer than 2.3 mm, comprising 17% of the total mass of the bulk sample, was not tested due to excessive dust issues, the company said. “Novo believes such material is treatable by means of gravity concentration,” it added.

“Test results are considered indicative, and Novo and Steinert see additional opportunity to optimise sorting conditions and parameters that may result in further efficiencies,” the company said. “Nevertheless, these tests indicate robust potential for upgrading nuggety conglomerate gold mineralisation, and perhaps, a broader spectrum of gold mineralisation types.”

A second 2.8 t split of the same bulk sample material has been delivered to TOMRA Sorting’s mechanical sorting test facility in Castle Hill, New South Wales, where it will soon undergo similar testing using various TOMRA mechanical sorters, the company said.

Rob Humphryson, CEO and Director of Novo Resources, said: “We are highly encouraged by these initial results. We are already fully confident about the outcome of Egina mechanical sorting test work, which demonstrated excellent recoveries into very small concentrates. Our Beaton’s Creek test work is more investigative in nature owing to the finer gold grain size, so to achieve such levels of upgrade in first phase testing is remarkable.”

He added: “Test work is being developed and supervised by Novo staff specialising in mining engineering, metallurgical processing, and importantly, our geology team. This means those people engaged in exploration are fully aware of the profound impact that mechanical sorting potentially imparts on the economic viability of our prospects. Mechanical sorting test work is likely to become an integral part of future exploration and economic modelling as we hopefully progress each of our projects towards production should the economic viability and technical feasibility of the project be established.”

FMG sets up Future of Mobility Centre in WA, starts autonomous light vehicle trial

Fortescue Metals Group has announced the establishment of a research and development centre based in Karratha, Western Australia, to explore opportunities for the application of autonomous mobility technology in an urban environment.

On top of this, it said it had commenced an autonomous light vehicle trial at its Christmas Creek iron ore operation in the Pilbara of WA.

In partnership with the local community, City of Karratha and technology and research partners, the Fortescue Future of Mobility Centre will “leverage the company’s success in using autonomous technology across its operations”, FMG said.

Fortescue’s Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said that innovation and emerging technologies, like autonomy, present an opportunity to work closely with the community to bring about mutual benefits.

“We are at the forefront of this technology with our mine operations set to become the first in the world to be fully autonomous and our fleet having safely travelled over 26 million kilometres since the first autonomous truck was introduced in 2012,” Gaines said.

“We are now building on our autonomous capability with the commencement of an autonomous light vehicle trial, at our Christmas Creek mine.

“The emergence of autonomy is one aspect in which our world is changing rapidly, and we intend to be part of the opportunities that it will represent for the mining industry, local communities such as Karratha, and beyond.”

By establishing the Fortescue Future of Mobility Centre in Karratha, FMG will have the ability to develop, test and trial this technology, Gaines said. This will further contribute to “Western Australia’s position as a world leading autonomous hub”, she added.

“We’ll be exploring all facets of the future of mobility including software, hardware and various forms of mobility solutions, to see where the opportunities lie,” she said.

City of Karratha Mayor, Peter Long, said: “I am delighted that of all the potential locations around Australia, Fortescue has selected Karratha as its base to develop this exciting and innovative new technology.”

Dr Fang Chen, Executive Director Data Science at The University of Technology Sydney, which will be a leading research provider to Fortescue’s work in autonomous technology, said: “Research into new technology and infrastructure will accelerate innovative mobility solutions to accommodate growth and future demands.”

TOMRA upgrades bulk samples at Novo’s Karratha gold project

Novo Resources has announced gold-rich assay results from concentrates generated by mechanical sorting trials conducted on four bulk samples from its Karratha gold project in Western Australia.

In order to test the potential viability of mechanical rock sorting as a means of concentrating gold from conglomerates at Karratha, four bulk samples were collected, crushed, screened and tested using a TOMRA mechanical rock sorter. High-grade assays from sorted rock concentrates have provided a first indication that this technique is effective at upgrading gold into small volume concentrates.

Mechanical sorting was conducted on material ranging from 6 to 63 mm. Fractions larger than 63 mm and finer than 6 mm are currently undergoing assaying and, once all analyses have returned, an assessment of the effectiveness of mechanical rock sorting will be made, Novo said.

Mechanical rock sorted concentrates range from 0.07-0.48% of total sample mass, a remarkably small fraction. Given the high-grade assays of these concentrates, ranging from 92.1-792.4 g/t Au, it appears gold is being significantly upgraded by mechanical rock sorting, the company added.

“Optimising crushing to reduce volumes of fines and oversize, effectively maximising the amount of material being sorted, should further improve the potential of this technology,” Novo said, adding that mechanical sorting technology could be a critical component of the Karratha gold project moving forward.

Rob Humphryson, CEO and Director of the company, said: “Concentrate grades received from the recent TOMRA mechanical rock sorting trials are impressive, reflecting the capability of the scanning and sorting technology to differentially select gold bearing rock.

“Total system gold recovery efficiency will be fully understood upon receipt of assay results from all process streams and feed size ranges, with these results expected during January 2019.”

Fleetwood to host Rio FIFO personnel in Dampier and Karratha for another year

ASX-listed accommodation provider Fleetwood Corp has signed a one-year contract extension with Rio Tinto that will see the company’s Searipple Village play host to the miner’s fly-in-fly-out personnel when they are travelling through Dampier and Karratha in Western Australia.

This one-year extension harks back to the original contract signed between the two companies back in December 2012. This has since been amended, in February 2015, and will now play out until December 31, 2019, as part of the one-year option period Rio exercised.

The 1,500-person accommodation village in Karratha was completed by Fleetwood as part of a build own operate project. It is located close to town, next to the beach and only 20 minutes from the airport, according to Fleetwood.