Tag Archives: mine engineering

Atlantic Lithium brings in Primero for FEED flowsheet services at Ewoyaa

Atlantic Lithium has awarded the processing plant front-end engineering design (FEED) contract for its Ewoyaa lithium project in Ghana to Primero Group.

Under the terms of the agreement, Primero will provide services to optimise the project’s flowsheet, identify long lead items, look to maximise the project’s long-term profitability, reduce execution risk and ultimately support the advancement of the project towards becoming a financially and operationally robust lithium-producing mine, Atlantic Lithium said.

The value of the contract is $980,000; the consideration of which is to be paid in accordance with the three-stage earn- in agreement the company has with Piedmont Lithium Inc to fund the project towards production. This could see Piedmont invest up to $103 million in the project to eventually deliver a 1.5-2 Mt/y run of mine operation for a 27.5% stake in Atlantic Lithium’s Ghana portfolio.

Primero, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NRW Holdings Limited, specialises in the design, construction and operation of global resource projects. The group has extensive experience in delivering large-scale construction contracts, including in the lithium industry and in West Africa, demonstrating significant expertise, versatility and competence, Atlantic Lithium says.

Primero, the company says, has provided services for a number of lithium projects with comparable flowsheets to Ewoyaa’s, including Bald Hill (Tawana Resources), Pilgangoora (Pilbara Minerals), Finniss Lithium (Core Lithium), Mt Holland (Covalent Lithium) and Xuxa (Sigma Lithium).

Following the recent completion of the 47,000 m resource and exploration drilling program at the Ewoyaa project, Atlantic Lithium is currently working towards producing an updated mineral resource estimate (MRE), intended to be announced in the March quarter of 2023. The updated MRE will then be used to support a definitive feasibility study, expected to be completed by mid-2023.

West African secures Lycopodium and Metso Outotec mills for Kiaka gold project

West African Resources Limited is heading towards construction at its 90%-owned Kiaka gold project in Burkina Faso, having registered strong funding interest, awarded an engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contract and booked the mill package for the development.

Kiaka, an asset with 7.7 Moz of reserves and resources on its books, is the company’s second gold mine in the country on top of its operating Sanbrado asset.

WAF’s feasibility study, released in August 2022, outlined pre-production capital costs of $430 million and a 2.5-year pre-tax pay back at a $1,750/oz gold price for the project. Kiaka was expected to operate over an 18.5-year life of mine, producing, on average, 219,000 oz/y of gold (on a 100% basis).

West African Executive Chairman, Richard Hyde, said strong competitive bids from its debt finance process supported the company’s targeted debt of $300 million for the project.

In the meantime, WAF has signed a notice of award with Lycopodium based on the engineering company’s priced proposal for the EPCM of a new carbon-in-leach treatment plant for Kiaka. This award incorporated Lycopodium’s early commencement of the engineering and procurement portion of the contract to complete the engineering and tendering of the long-lead mill package.

Lycopodium was also the contractor on the Sanbrado construction project.

In line with this, Lycopodium and WAF have undertaken a competitive tender process for the supply and delivery of the SAG and ball mill package for Kiaka.

Following the evaluation of tenders, the company selected Metso Outotec to supply the 18 MW SAG mill and 9 MW ball mill. Metso Outotec also provided the SAG and ball mills at Sanbrado (construction of the comminution circuit, pictured). WAF has signed the order with Mesto Outotec, which contains a firm pricing and delivery schedule for the mill package components that fits well into the Kiaka construction schedule, it said.

The mining company says it has mobilised earthworks equipment to the Kiaka project site. The initial areas to be cleared include the permanent camp area and the process plant area. Access road upgrades are also planned to be undertaken during the current dry season.

The construction schedule for Kiaka remains on track, with major works expected to commence in the March quarter and first gold in 2025.

WAF says it also remains on target to meet 2022 production and cost guidance of 220,000-240,000 oz of gold produced at an all-in sustaining cost of less than $1,100/oz.

SNC-Lavalin bolsters Canada mining and metallurgy practice with hire of Miguel Tortosa

SNC-Lavalin, a fully integrated professional services and project management company with offices around the world, has announced the appointment of Miguel Tortosa as Vice-President and General Manager, Mining and Metallurgy, Canada.

Based in Toronto, he will report to César Inostroza, CEO, Mining and Metallurgy at SNC-Lavalin.

Along with leading business initiatives for the mining and metallurgy practice across Canada, Tortosa will be responsible for identifying and executing on new growth opportunities for the global mining and metallurgy practice. He will be supporting the mining and metallurgy team in providing leading technical expertise to clients, while collaborating with other practice groups across SNC-Lavalin to leverage the full capabilities of the company’s end-to-end service offering in delivering client mandates, SNC-Lavalin says.

“We’re excited to have Miguel step into this important role for the mining and metallurgy business,” Inostroza said. “His significant global and domestic experience, developed across projects in Canada, South Africa, Australia, Chile and Brazil, and his specialised insight across the mining lifecycle, will be a great asset to our clients. His expertise and energy will enable us to build strong networks across the business, optimise our service delivery, and deploy the best of SNC-Lavalin’s global capabilities locally on projects across Canada.”

He added: “Mr Tortosa will help advance our role in sustainable mining and the indispensable role it plays in critical mineral supply to support the growing market for batteries required to support electric vehicles, along with the increasing electrification of society in support of net zero.”

A Montreal native, Tortosa graduated from Polytechnique Montréal with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Prior to joining SNC-Lavalin, he worked in the mining practice at global engineering firm Wood.

Sedgman formally awarded EPC contract for Artemis’ Blackwater gold project

CIMIC Group’s mineral processing company, Sedgman, has been awarded an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to deliver services for Artemis Gold at the Blackwater gold project in British Columbia, Canada.

The EPC contract, which supersedes the temporary interim service agreement announced on May 2, 2022, will generate revenue for Sedgman of C$318 million ($245 million).

Sedgman will design and construct the processing and non-processing infrastructure for a 6 Mt/y carbon-in-leach gold plant at the project.

Even before this announcement, Sedgman had made good headway on the project, executing an agreement with Metso Outotec to secure supply and delivery of crushing and grinding equipment for the processing plant.

The project schedule as laid out by Artemis supporting the EPC contract with Sedgman includes the following assumptions:

  • Receipt of the BC Mines Act and related permits in the Fall of 2022;
  • Construction mobilisation and major works preparations commence in the March quarter of 2023 with process plant bulk earthworks scheduled to be completed prior to the start of major works;
  • Commissioning activities of the process facility to commence in the firts half of 2024; and
  • First gold pour expected in the September quarter of 2024.

CIMIC Group Executive Chairman, Juan Santamaria, said: “Sedgman and Artemis have already commenced initial design and procurement work at the project, helping Artemis to unlock the value of this key gold project and work towards its first gold pour in 2024.”

Sedgman Managing Director, Grant Fraser, said: “We are pleased to be working with Artemis Gold on this exciting project and look forward to continuing our strong working relationship to ensure successful outcomes for both Sedgman and Artemis.”

Work is expected to be completed in the September quarter of 2024.

Artemis has said previously that Stage 1 development at Blackwater should lead to the building of a 6-9 Mt/y operation (6 Mt/y in years 1-4 and 9 Mt/y in year 5) able to produce around 312,000 oz/y of gold.

South32 making engineering and design headway at Hermosa project

A stellar set of annual financial results has provided the ideal backdrop for South32 to update shareholders on its rapidly progressing Hermosa project in Arizona, USA.

Released late last month, the company’s 2022 financial year results showed off record earnings of $2.6 billion, record free cash flow from operations of $2.6 billion and record return on invested capital of 30.1%.

With group copper-equivalent production expected to increase by 14% in the next financial year, South32 looked to be well leveraged to in-demand metal markets at the right time.

The company has progressively been repositioning its portfolio toward metals critical for a low-carbon future, having already established a pipeline of high-quality development options. One of these high-quality development options is Hermosa.

Hermosa, which the company acquired outright back in 2018 as part of a takeover of Arizona Mining, is key to the company’s critical metals pursuit, having exposure to base and battery metals that are expected to grow in demand – both domestically in the US and internationally.

It is being designed as South32’s first ‘next generation mine’, according to Hermosa President, Pat Risner, with a series of technical reports highlighting its use of automation and technology to minimise its impact on the environment and target a carbon-neutral mining scenario in support of the group’s goal of achieving net zero operational greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

These same reports also highlighted the potential to develop a sustainable, low-cost operation producing zinc, lead and silver from the Taylor deposit, with the bonus of possible battery-grade manganese output for rapidly growing domestic markets from the Clark deposit.

In the latest results, the company said it was devoting $290 million of growth capital expenditure in the 2023 financial year to progressing Hermosa as it invests in infrastructure to support critical path dewatering and progress study work for the Taylor Deposit. This is ahead of a planned final investment decision expected in mid-2023, which should coincide with the feasibility study.

South32 is devoting $290 million of growth capital expenditure in the 2023 financial year to progress Hermosa

Some $110 million of this was assigned to construction of a second water treatment plant (WTP2) to support orebody dewatering at the asset, alongside dewatering wells, piping systems and dewatering power infrastructure.

An additional $95 million was slated for engineering and initial construction ahead of shaft sinking at the operation, plus work to support power infrastructure and road construction.

The remaining amount was expected to support work across the broader Hermosa project, including Clark study costs and the Taylor feasibility study.

All signs from these results are that the company is laying the groundwork to develop this project ahead of that mid-2023 deadline.

In another sign of progress, South32 recently signed a “limited notice to proceed” for shaft engineering and design at Hermosa with contractor Redpath, Risner confirmed, adding that the award represented a positive step forward for the project.

“We look forward to continuing our engagement with local communities and all of our stakeholders as we make further progress with the project,” he said.

Redpath will no doubt be evaluating the technical studies that have been signed off to this point and informing future reports.

The PFS design for Taylor is a dual shaft mine which prioritises early access to higher grade mineralisation, supporting zinc-equivalent average grades of approximately 12% in the first five years of the mine plan. The proposed mining method, longhole open stoping, is similar to that used at Cannington, in Australia, and maximises productivity and enables a single stage ramp-up to the miner’s preferred development scenario of up to 4.3 Mt/y.

Yet, the Clark deposit opportunity – which has become even more tantalising with the US Government invoking the Defense Production Act and supporting the production of critical metals including manganese – could see the plan change.

The company says it may accelerate the prefeasibility study for the Clark deposit, which is spatially linked to the Taylor deposit. A scoping study has previously confirmed the potential for a separate, integrated underground mining operation producing battery-grade manganese, as well as zinc and silver from the deposit.

South32 previously said Clark has the potential to underpin a second development stage at Hermosa, with future studies to consider the opportunity to integrate its development with Taylor, potentially unlocking further operating and capital efficiencies.

With a PFS selection study expected later this year, investors and interested parties will soon know the role Clark could play in the wider Hermosa project.

What is easy to gauge already is that Hermosa is progressing on a track that many other development projects in in-demand sectors have gone down.

SNC-Lavalin to help BAMIN join up mining and rail ops at Pedra de Ferro

SNC-Lavalin has been awarded a C$14.8 million ($11.4 million), two-year contract to provide design and engineering services for the Pedra de Ferro project in northeast Brazil for BAMIN, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ERG.

The Pedra de Ferro project involves an iron ore mining operation in the state of Bahia that extracts and processes two types of ore, hematite and itabirite, and transports it for commercialisation via rail and sea. To help increase capacity and expand production, the company will design and engineer an open-pit mine, a hematite processing plant, an itabirite processing plant, a product storage yard, a cargo loading station and a railway loop that will provide access to the West-East Integration Railroad (FIOL). In September 2021, BAMIN signed a concession agreement with the Brazilian Federal Government to complete and operate a section of the FIOL railway in the country. Once completed, FIOL will be able to carry 60 Mt/y of freight, with BAMIN’s products accounting for a third of this capacity.

“Our integrated pit-to-port approach is present at every level in the mining industry, including greenfield, brownfield, new investments, due diligence and assessment studies,” Cesar Inostroza, SNC-Lavalin Mining & Metallurgy CEO, said. “Whether it’s complementing existing operations or getting new ones up and running, we deliver safely on time and on budget.”

Maria de Lourdes Bahia, SNC-Lavalin Mining & Metallurgy Vice-president, Brazil, said: “This project is extremely important to the Brazilian economy, helping generate thousands of jobs and positioning Bahia to become the third largest iron ore producing state in Brazil. Our commitment to innovation, technology and sustainability enables us to deliver the best solutions with lasting benefits to our clients and the communities in which we work and live.”

ERG has previously flagged that Pedra de Ferro could produce up to 18 Mt/y of iron ore at full capacity.

Sedgman grows Western Australia presence with Onyx Projects acquisition

Sedgman says it has acquired project management and engineering company Onyx Projects, enhancing its growing Western Australia presence and offering to clients.

Onyx’s long-standing reputation, specialist technical capabilities and experience in the iron ore industry, paired with Sedgman’s minerals processing expertise, project delivery capability and experience, expands Sedgman’s service offering to clients from sustaining capital through to major greenfield development, it explained.

Onyx Projects will be re-named Sedgman Onyx and will operate as a part of Sedgman’s Australia West business unit.

Sedgman Managing Director, Grant Fraser, said: “We welcome the Onyx Projects people to the team and we’re looking forward to working with them. The addition of Onyx Projects to Sedgman will allow us to increase our offering while complementing Sedgman’s existing capabilities to provide our clients with a broader service offering.”

Onyx Projects Managing Director, Ian Beaumont, said: “In Sedgman, we are pleased to find a strategic partner that complements our current services, expands our capability and offers new opportunities to our personnel and our clients.”

Listed among the projects Onyx Projects has worked on are the likes of the Brockman 4 Camp, the West Angelas Deposit A Integrated Dewatering Project, the Koolyanobbing 11Mtpa Upgrades and the Murrin Murrin Nickel Cobalt Operation – Process Control System Services.

Sedgman and Onyx Projects will work through a transition process focused on the continuity of service to clients, Sedgman added.

Kore Potash progresses Kola mine development plans, signs SEPCO agreement

Kore Potash says it has signed a Heads of Agreement (HoA) with SEPCO Electric Power Construction Corporation for the construction of the Kola potash project in the Republic of Congo.

The HoA recognises the recent Kola optimisation study outcomes, which recently confirmed its potential to produce 2.2 Mt/y of granular muriate of potash over an initial 31-year life.

Brad Sampson, Chief Executive Officer of Kore Potash, said the HoA with SEPCO reconfirms the Chinese company’s commitment to advance from the completed Kola optimisation phase, to construction contract formation and then into construction of Kola.

“We look forward now to receiving the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contract proposal,” he said.

The Kola optimisation study outlined a project with a capital cost of $1.83 billion on an EPC basis. It also envisaged a 40-month construction period.

Kola is designed as a conventional mechanised underground potash mine with shallow shaft access. Ore will be extracted within ‘panels’, using continuous miners of the drum-cutting type. The mine design adopts a relatively typical layout including panels, comprised of rooms and pillars.

The mine design is based on a minimum mining height of 2.5 m with mining being undertaken by a continuous miner capable of mining seam heights of between 2.5-6 m. Each panel is accessed by four entries. Each entry is 8-m wide and 3-6-m high depending on the seam height. The rooms are mined in a chevron pattern at an angle of 65° from the middle entry, each with a length of approximately 150 m.

Mine access is provided by two vertical shafts, each 8 m in diameter. The shafts will be sunk near the centre of the orebody. To provide access to the underground, the intake shaft will be equipped with a hoist and cage system for transportation of persons and material. The exhaust shaft will be equipped with a pocket lift conveyor system to continuously convey the mined-out ore to the surface. Both shafts are approximately 270-m deep in the plan.

Mining equipment selected for Kola includes a fleet of seven electrically-powered continuous miners. Ore haulage from the continuous miners to the feeder breaker apron feeder will be done using electrically-powered shuttle cars, with a rated payload of 30 t and a 250 m power supply cable. Underground conveyor belts will be used for ore transportation to the shaft.

The belt conveyors are distributed in the haulages and into the working panels near the continuous miner working face. The ore will be placed on the belts from feeder breakers that are fed by the shuttle cars. Belt conveyors will carry the ore loaded by the feeder breakers to the ore bins. The ore is then conveyed from the ore bins to the vertical conveyor (pocket lift) system located in the exhaust shaft.

Ore from underground is transported to the process plant via an overland conveyor approximately 25 km long. After processing, the muriate of potash product is conveyor-transported 11 km to the marine export facility. The potash is conveyed from the storage area onto barges via the dedicated barge loading jetty and then trans-shipped into ocean going vessels for export.

GR Engineering to build Thunderbird mineral sands processing plant

GR Engineering Services has been awarded an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract with Thunderbird Operations Pty Ltd (TOPL) for a mineral processing plant and associated facilities for the Thunderbird mineral sands project in Western Australia.

TOPL is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kimberley Minerals Sands Pty Limited (KMS), which is 50% owned by Sheffield Resources Limited (ASX: SFX) (Sheffield) and 50% owned by YGH Australia Investment Pty Limited. The contract sum is A$179.5 million ($134.3 million).

GR Engineering will commence limited work under the contract until being issued with a full notice to proceed, ahead of a final investment decision being made by KMS to pursue the development of the project, it said. The final investment decision is expected in mid-2022 with project delivery scheduled to occur over an approximate 18-month period.

In May 2021, GR Engineering restarted early engineering and design works for the project and has been progressing critical path design and procurement activities. The company has a long-standing relationship with the project since 2017.

Geoff Jones, Managing Director, said: “We are extremely pleased to have been engaged to perform a key role in the development of the world-class Thunderbird mineral sands project. GR Engineering has been associated with the project over a number of years and it is exciting to see this project progress to the next stage of development.”

In a bankable feasibility study released on the same day as this announcement, Sheffield Resources outlined a A$484 million Stage 1 project using a Single Mining Unit Plant that underpinned a 10.4 Mt/y mining operation and a processing plant design feed rate of 170 t/h. The Stage 2 project saw a duplication in year five of Stage 1 mining underpinning a 20.8 Mt/y mining operation and an increase in the processing plant feed rate to 290 t/h.

Michelle Tracey joins SNC-Lavalin’s Mining & Metallurgy business

SNC-Lavalin, a fully integrated professional services and project management company with offices around the world, has welcomed Michelle Tracey as Senior Project Director for its Mining & Metallurgy business.

Tracey has more than 30 years of experience in the engineering field, with a track record of delivering operational excellence and leading the execution and delivery of major projects, including pre-feasibility and feasibility studies for investments. As an experienced leader in her field, she is a passionate advocate for equality, diversity and inclusion. She consistently provides insight and perspective, pushing to make a difference in the mining industry.

After graduating in 1988 with a degree in chemical engineering, Tracey spent 12 years with an aluminum smelting company, working her way up through various roles while also completing her MBA. From there, she changed her focus to project delivery, working for both the owners’ companies and for EPCM consultants and contractors around the world including in China, Canada, Jamaica, Solomon Islands, Chile, USA, Colombia and Peru.

“Ms Tracey has a stellar track record in delivering projects for customers in the Mining & Metals business all over the world,” Cesar Inostroza, CEO Mining & Metallurgy, SNC-Lavalin, said. “She is a great addition to our team.”