Strandline Resources says rapid construction of its 100%-owned Coburn mineral sands project in Western Australia has facilitated commencement of open-pit mine development (starter pits) two months ahead of schedule.
After successful early mobilisation of the mining contractor (MSCS) in April 2022, construction of the temporary tailings storage facility is almost finished, and pre-strip mining will commence from next week, it said.
Mine development will now run concurrently with finalising the construction of the processing and supporting infrastructure, which remains on-budget and on track for first production of heavy mineral concentrate later this year.
The Coburn definitive feasibility study, released in June 2020, outlined a mine life of 22.5 years at a mining rate of 23.4 Mt/y.
Detailed mine planning optimisation by AMC Consultants, using the latest infill drilling data, has resulted in an enhanced pit design for the first two years of the mine plan, which contains less overburden (lower strip ratio) and potentially reduced mining costs compared with assumptions contained within this study, the company noted. The strip ratio has reduced from an average of 0.7 to 0.5 over the first two years of the mine plan, due primarily to optimising and scheduling more ore closer to surface on the eastern side of the deposit.
The three dozer mining units, in the meantime, have been delivered and assembled on site, ready to be moved into position for mining first ore later this year. These dozer units were designed and constructed by Piacentini & Son and form a key part of Coburn’s efficient dry mining methodology, capable of receiving, screening and pumping ore from the mine to the processing facilities at an average rate of 3,100 t/h, based on two units in operation at any one time, Strandline says. The in-pit dozer mining units are designed to be frequently relocated as the mine progresses through the mine plan.
Commissioning of the sub-systems associated with the wet concentration plant and hybrid power station is expected to commence from July as construction verification works ramps up, the company added.
Strandline Managing Director, Luke Graham, said commencement of pre-strip mining represents another important milestone for the project, ensuring the company remains on track for first production of heavy mineral concentrate in the December quarter this year.
“Construction continues to advance strongly with commissioning of the wet concentration plant and hybrid power station set to commence next month,” he said.