Tag Archives: mine engineering

GR Engineering to help double processing capacity at NSR’s Thunderbox

GR Engineering Services says it has executed an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract with Northern Star Resources in relation to the Thunderbox 6 Mt/y expansion project in Western Australia.

Located 45 km south of Leinster, the Thunderbox operations currently have a 3 Mt/y processing capacity. The asset was owned by Saracen Mineral Holdings prior to a merger with Northern Star.

The works will involve the design, engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning of the project, with the contract sum amounting to A$101 million ($74.3 million) and work is expected to start immediately.

GR Engineering has carried out several projects on the Thunderbox operations, including EPC work on the Thunderbox paste plant work, which has seen a new 150 cu.m paste backfill plant built.

Commenting on the recent award, Geoff Jones, GR Engineering Managing Director, said: “GR Engineering is excited to continue working with Northern Star, one of the world’s leading gold producers, to safely deliver the Thunderbox Expansion project. We have worked with the Northern Star team over many years and see this award as a strong endorsement of our proven EPC delivery capability.”

On award of Northern Star’s largest infrastructure project to date, Northern Star’s General Manager Processing, Simon Tyrrell, said: “The Thunderbox expansion increases the operation’s hard-rock processing capacity to 6 Mt/y from the current 3 Mt/y, and decreases processing costs as outlined in the 2021 Investor Day Presentation. Northern Star is pleased to be working with GR Engineering again, a local company with vast project delivery experience in the Australian mining industry.”

In this same presentation, the company said the processing capacity boost would involve the addition of a new 18 MW mill and classification circuit; new leach tanks, elution and gold room upgrades; and new tailing thickener and tailings pumping. The plant would be designed for 100% fresh ore, NSR said.

MACA Interquip delivers to plan at Capricorn’s Karlawinda gold project

The MACA Interquip team has successfully reached completion of services provided to Capricorn Metals at the Karlawinda gold project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, the company has confirmed.

MACA Interquip undertook steelwork procurement and SMP (structural, mechanical, and piping) construction services for the 4 Mt/y three-stage crushing plant, grinding and conventional carbon-in-leach plant.

Plant commissioning is now complete and the MACA Interquip team has begun to demobilise from site after a successful job done.

Project Manager, Brett Smith, said the success of this project is a testament to the skillset, dedication and diligence of the MACA Interquip team.

“Construction is complete and now the plant is efficiently up and running and being ramped up to nameplate capacity. As our works came to a close, our teams remained highly committed to delivering a safe work environment and achieved an LTI-free project,” Smith said.

MACA Mining, meanwhile, is carrying out open-pit mining services including drilling & blasting and loading & hauling at the project as part of an agreement the companies signed recently.

Based on a 1.2 Moz reserve, Capricorn envisages a 12-year mine life at Karlawinda, with an annual production target of 110,000-125,000 oz of gold. The company plans to mine a single large, low strip ratio open pit and process it through the carbon-in-leach plant.

Sigma hires Promon for Grota do Cirilo lithium project design and construction

Sigma Lithium Resources Corp has appointed Promon Engenharia Ltda of Sao Paulo, Brazil, for the design and construction of Phase 1 of its Grota do Cirilo hard-rock lithium project in the country.

Promon joins Primero Group of Australia as Sigma’s international engineering team for construction of the project.

The announcement came at the same time as Sigma confirmed it had initiated significant earthworks activities at the project, breaking ground with topsoil removal, clearing and grubbing in the site area (plant and mine). These activities followed completion of the geotechnical assessment for the civil engineering and evaluation of impact on the foundation design and earthwork quantities for construction of the foundation for the production plant for Phase 1 of the project. This phase is designed to allow for expansion design features incorporating a future second production line.

Sigma said it continued to advance detailed engineering activities with Promon, which now joins Primero to provide technical and engineering services to Sigma in the construction of the project.

Sigma said Promon was selected for its substantial experience in the advanced metallurgical and chemical industries and for its detailed and focused engineering process. Its portfolio of large-scale projects include: processing and mining plants, oil refineries, petrochemical plants, maritime terminals, hydroelectric, thermal and nuclear power plants, power transmission systems, steel mills, automotive and aeronautical manufacturing plants and commercial buildings.

Primero, meanwhile, is one of the few engineering firms with direct experience in lithium plant construction commissioning and operations as a result of its work in several successful producing projects in Australia, including the previous experience of its personnel at the Talison Greenbushes mine, Sigma said.

“Primero perfected the technology for automating and digitally controlling dense media separation in lithium processing facilities,” it added. “Together with the company, Primero has developed the ‘green’ circuits for the processing flowsheet for the commercial production plant for the project, including the water recycling and dry stacking.”

Initial production of 220,000 t/y of “high purity lithium concentrate” is on track for the September quarter of 2022, it said.

Earlier in the month, the company published results from a preliminary economic assessment for phase two production, which estimated Production could increase from 220,000 t/y (33,000 t of lithium carbonate equivalent) planned for 2022 in Phase 1, to 440,000 t/y (66,000 t of LCE), within approximately one year. This would involve the addition of a second dense media separation line within its plant.

Aspire signs up Sedgman for Ovoot coking coal project FEED study

Aspire Mining Ltd has contracted Sedgman Pty Limited to prepare a Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) study on coal handling and preparation plant (CHPP) infrastructure to support commencement of operations at the Ovoot coking coal project (OCCP) in Mongolia.

Sedgman, a wholly owned subsidiary of CIMIC, is a leading provider of integrated minerals processing solutions with experience delivering processing solutions. It has provided technical input and various studies supporting the economics of the OCCP from discovery of the deposit in 2010.

The FEED study will be conducted in a phased approach, over a period of approximately five months. Stage 1 will comprise trade-off analyses to identify the most appropriate concepts and technologies, which will take approximately eight weeks. Stage 2 will then focus on the agreed path and will produce accurate estimates of capital and operating costs, and designs to enable tendering for construction. The work will be completed under a schedule of rates arrangement, with total cost of A$600,000 ($464,583) estimated, Aspire said.

The intended CHPP infrastructure to be investigated will be based on existing modular designs and will enable low impact processing of approximately 1.5 Mt/y of run-of-mine coal, with capability for later expansion, Aspire said. Important criteria for the design include low energy and water consumption, and stringent dust control.

Sedgman Managing Director, Grant Fraser, said: “Sedgman appreciated the opportunity to work with Aspire and is focused on delivering value through progressing an innovative solution for the project.

“This study is a great opportunity to work with one of our longstanding clients to support the future development of the OCCP.”

Fluor celebrates BHP South Flank iron ore achievements

Days after BHP achieved “first ore” at its South Flank iron ore development in Western Australia, Fluor’s Mining & Metals business has announced its construction delivery scope has been achieved on budget and on schedule at the $3.6 billion operation.

The project is the largest iron ore processing facility ever built in Western Australia, according to Fluor.

Together with the existing Mining Area C, it will form the largest operating iron ore hub in the world – producing 145 Mt/y of iron ore, according to BHP.

The engineering firm provided engineering, procurement and construction management support on the project, which includes an 80 Mt/y crushing and screening plant, state-of-the-art overland conveyor systems and rail-loading facilities. Construction began in July 2018.

Tony Morgan, President of Fluor’s Mining and Metals business, said: “It is always very gratifying and rewarding to see a project of this magnitude completed on time and on budget.

“We are proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish with BHP from the pre-construction feasibility study to improving the project’s capital efficiency, optimising costs and schedules, and hiring indigenous and local team members. All of this was accomplished while navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Quinton Brand, BHP’s Head of Western Australia Major Projects, said: “We would like to thank the entire Fluor team from the design engineers to the fabrication and construction teams. Fluor made an important contribution to the delivery of South Flank’s first ore.”

Kore Potash and China’s SEPCO, ENFI to work on Kola potash optimisation study

Kore Potash and Summit Africa Ltd, on behalf of a consortium of investors and engineering firms, have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) to arrange the total financing required for the construction of the Kola potash project in the Republic of Congo.

The MoU with Summit outlines a roadmap to optimise, fully finance and construct Kola via a mix of debt and royalty financing, it said.

Summit and its technical partners, SEPCO Electric Power Construction Corp and China ENFI Engineering Corp, who has been subcontracted by SEPCO, will work with Kore to undertake an optimisation study to reduce Kola’s capital cost with a target of less than $1.65 billion.

Kore, which owns 97% of Kola, will contribute around $900,000 to the optimisation study costs, with SEPCO covering the remaining 50% of the estimated study costs, it said.

Summit is an Africa-focused strategic advisory, corporate finance and alternative investment group headquartered in Mauritius who, in 2016, led and arranged the $50 million financing of the definitive feasibility study for Kola. As part of that financing, both the Oman Investment Authority (then called the State General Reserve Fund) and Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (SQM) each invested $20 million.

Summit’s role in the MoU is to, again, be the lead arranger and to advise the company concerning the most optimal financing solution that would see the delivery of the Kola project, Kore said.

SEPCO will be the engineering procurement and construction contractor for Kola within the Summit consortium. ENFI’s potash-specific experience includes design and construction of an underground potash mine in Southeast Asia.

Summit, SEPCO and ENFI commenced discussions with the company towards financing the construction of Kola in the second half of 2019.

The MoU provides the Summit consortium with a nine-month period to present a financing proposal to fully finance the construction of Kola via a combination of debt and royalty financing. This means the company would not be required to raise equity to fund the capital cost of construction as the equity portion will be covered by the royalty funding with the company retaining its 90% interest in the project (the Republic of Congo Government receiving the remaining 10%).

The results of the definitive feasibility study for Kola were announced in January 2019. During its review of the DFS, the company and its independent consultants identified several opportunities to achieve a material reduction in the capital cost of Kola, but the realisation of these opportunities requires further capital optimisation studies, it said.

“Having already completed a preliminary review of the DFS and the potential optimisation opportunities identified, the technical partners in the Summit consortium (SEPCO and ENFI) have confirmed a target capital cost for the optimisation study of $1.65 billion,” Kore said. “Reducing the capital cost of Kola will reduce the size of the financing required for construction and improve returns for the company’s shareholders. The Summit consortium has set out in the MoU that achieving the target capital expenditure in the optimisation study is a condition for Kore to receive the financing proposal.”

Kola is a high grade, high quality, shallow sylvinite potash deposit situated on an existing mining licence, approximately 35 km from the coast, and 65 km north of the harbour city of Pointe Noire, Kore says. It comes with a 2.2 Mt/y muriate of potash production profile over a 33-year mine life.

The permitting and agreements required for construction are in place including the environmental permit, trans-shipment permit and the Mining Convention with the government.

Once in production, Kola is anticipated to be one of the lowest cost potash producers globally, ideally located to supply nearby African and South American markets, the company added.

Artemis Gold locks in Blackwater EPC processing plant price with Ausenco

After a competitive bidding process, Artemis Gold has executed a binding memorandum of understanding with Ausenco Engineering Canada Inc providing for a guaranteed maximum price (GMP) for a fixed-price engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to construct a 5.5 Mt/y processing facility and associated infrastructure at the Blackwater gold project in British Columbia, Canada.

The selection of Ausenco as the successful bidder was based on a proposal to engineer and construct the facilities for a GMP of $236 million ($188 million), subject to any technical or commercial changes requested by Artemis.

The MoU outlines the terms under which Ausenco will undertake further detailed engineering, which will form the basis of a final fixed EPC price that will not exceed the GMP. This Ausenco GMP is consistent with capital estimates in the company’s 2020 prefeasibility study on Blackwater.

A fixed price EPC contract on the processing facility and associated infrastructure represents by far the largest single component of the capital cost of Blackwater at approximately 40% of the PFS estimate of C$592 million ($470 million), Artemis says.

Ausenco has already undertaken a significant amount of detailed engineering work on the plant and will be working towards a final fixed-price EPC contract for the facilities scheduled for completion in the September quarter.

Artemis is also conducting a competitive bidding process for a GMP proposal in connection with a fixed price EPC contract for the construction of the electricity transmission line and associated offsite infrastructure, with an expected GMP award in the June quarter, it said.

Steven Dean, Chairman and CEO, said: “The execution of this MoU represents a significant investment of time and effort from management and multiple GMP bidders over the past several months. The Ausenco GMP bid serves as further validation of the initial capital costs estimated in the 2020 PFS with respect to the process plant and associated facilities, further de-risking the development of the project.

“Following a rigorous adjudication process of a number of competitive proposals, we are very pleased to be working with a world-class engineering firm such as Ausenco. Ausenco was also involved in the successful development at Atlantic Gold and the award of the GMP should give investors and potential project debt lenders greater confidence in the proposed schedule and initial capital cost to develop Blackwater on time and on budget.”

The 2020 prefeasibility study on Blackwater envisaged a three-stage development starting at 5.5 Mt/y from years 1-5, shifting to 12 Mt/y in years 6-10 and rising to 20 Mt/y in years 11-23. This would see gold production go from 248,000 oz/y to 420,000 oz/y, to 316,000 oz/y, respectively.

NioCorp extends Cementation Americas’ stay at Elk Creek project

NioCorp Developments says it has signed a contract with Cementation USA, part of the Cementation Americas group, to continue advancing detailed engineering work associated with the Elk Creek Superalloy Materials project in Nebraska, USA.

Under the contract, the underground mine contracting and engineering company will conduct an evaluation of the current design for the project’s underground mine and prepare a detailed cost estimate for the final detailed engineering that would be required to bring the mine design to “Issued for Construction” status, NioCorp said.

As previously announced, NioCorp selected Cementation as the lead engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the underground aspects of the project. The company expects to engage Cementation, if and when additional project financing becomes available, to undertake Phase 2 of the contract, which involves completion of the detailed engineering for the mine.

An April 2019 feasibility study on Elk Creek estimated average production of 7,220 t/y of ferroniobium, 95 t/y tpa of scandium trioxide and 11,642 t/y of titanium dioxide over the 36-year mine life.

JDS Energy & Mining to run the PFS numbers at Gold Mountain’s Elk gold project

Gold Mountain Mining has engaged JDS Energy & Mining Inc to complete a prefeasibility study on its Elk gold project in British Columbia, Canada.

The PFS was commissioned to reflect the recent advancements the company has made to the project, most notably the signing of both the contract mining agreement – with Nhwelmen-Lake LP – and the ore purchase agreement with New Gold. These key inputs provide Gold Mountain with the near-term cost certainty required to delineate a maiden reserve at the project, the company says.

It is anticipated the PFS will also update the company’s resource estimate at the Siwash North Zone based on the results of its phase one drill program.

JDS will lead the PFS update with support from Knight Piesold Consulting and certain key independent consultants, Gold Mountain said, with the study expected to be completed in the September quarter.

Kevin Smith, Director and CEO of Gold Mountain, said: “We are very pleased to have JDS lead the PFS update. Their proven track record of engineering expertise in building ‘fit for purpose’ projects in Canada’s north will greatly contribute to the Elk gold project.

“Having a reputable group validate our economics, assess the underground potential, and continue to advance the Elk gold project strengthens our upside and ability to deliver long-term value to our shareholders.”

Gord Doerksen, President of the Engineering Division at JDS, added: “We are happy to be working with Gold Mountain to support near-term production and long-term planning at the Elk gold project. The team has built a strong foundation for JDS to add our extensive operational and permitting experience on a number of quality projects in British Columbia, and we look forward to maximising value together as partners.”

Gold Mountain acquired Bayshore Minerals in September 2020, gaining 100% ownership of the Elk gold project in the Merritt area of British Columbia. A past-producing gold mine, Elk comes with an NI 43-101 resource of 454,000 oz of gold-equivalent in the measured and indicated categories and 95,000 oz of gold-equivalent in the inferred category.

A previous preliminary economic assessment contemplated an operating able to mine 50,000 oz/y by year four.

DRA Global to deliver Carmichael coal handling and preparation plant

DRA Global has won its second major contract on the Bravus Mining & Resources-owned Carmichael coal project, in Queensland, Australia, with the engineering firm set to deliver the project’s A$140 million ($108 million) coal processing plant.

Bravus CEO, David Boshoff, said DRA was known for its exceptional service to the Australian resources sector, and previous work on the Carmichael project building the coal handling plant (CHP) had demonstrated its experience and capability.

The coal handling plant (CHP) and the coal preparation plant (CPP) will work together to prepare and process the coal to meet market specifications at Carmichael.

The CPP is designed to process the coal, using recycled water and density separation processes so that the product that goes into market is more energy efficient and environmentally friendly, DRA says.

DRA will carry out the engineering, design and construction of the CHP and the CPP at Carmichael. Included within this is the supply and construction of coal processing infrastructure; supply and construction of coal sizing and conveying equipment; construction of coal stockpiling infrastructure; and construction of the train load out infrastructure to enable loading of trains.

According to the original project description from October 2013 authored by engineering services company GHD, the project’s coal handling and preparation plant has been designed to receive, size and process a maximum throughput of 74.5 Mt/y run of mine coal, producing 60 Mt/y of product coal. However, this is the maximum approved production level. Initial mine production will be 10 Mt/y with a surface mine capacity of 40 Mt/y, rising to 60 Mt/y when the underground mine comes online.

DRA Global CEO, Andrew Naude, said: “DRA is delighted to have been awarded an additional major contract on the Carmichael project and to be able to continue creating employment opportunities and supporting the Central Queensland region.”

Boshoff said: “The CHP resizes the coal and the CPP processes the coal to meet final product quality requirements and in doing so it is more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. It is these facilities that will see Carmichael coal become some of the better-quality coal from around the world.”

He added: “Every week we are reaching exciting new major milestones on the Carmichael mine and rail projects bringing us a step closer to the reality of completion. We are on track and looking forward to producing first coal in 2021.”