Tag Archives: mine engineering

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.”

Worley to take Neo Lithium’s 3Q brine project into DFS stage

Neo Lithium Corp and its Argentinean subsidiary LIEX SA have engaged Worley Chile and Worley Argentina to complete a definitive feasibility study (DFS) of its flagship 3Q lithium brine project in Catamarca, Argentina.

The development strategy for 3Q focuses on production of 20,000 t/y of lithium carbonate with the flexibility to expand production to 40,000 t/y after phase one is completed and operational. The DFS is scheduled for completion in the September quarter of 2021.

Gabriel Pindar, COO of Neo Lithium Corp, said: “On the back of CATL’s investment and involvement, we are very pleased to have engaged and be working with Worley who bring a wealth of lithium knowledge and experience to our 3Q project. Worley is a leading global engineering firm and has been involved in all aspects of lithium brine operations which will be invaluable in executing our DFS.”

Results of the last prefeasibility study (PFS) on 3Q performed by GHD Chile SA and Groundwater Insight Inc outlined a project with 20,000 t/y of lithium carbonate production potential with after-tax net present value (8% discount rate) of $1.143 billion, internal rate of return of 49.9%, and capital expenditure of $318.9 million.

Neo Lithium said the studies carried out by the company in its evaporation pilot plant at the salar site and the lithium carbonate pilot plant in the town of Fiambalá confirm that the general parameters defined in the PFS will be validated in the DFS.

Neo Lithium has been operating pilot evaporation ponds for more than three years, while the pilot lithium carbonate plant has been in operation for nearly two years. This has resulted in a meaningful ramp up in knowledge while improving the process all the way through to validate the PFS and take the project more efficiently into DFS with a view towards future construction, it said.

“As a result of our efforts to maintain steady operations at pilot scale level, we continue to produce our own lithium brine concentrate and lithium carbonate on a regular basis, and believe that we are on track towards our goal of being in production by the later stages of 2023,” the company added.

Argonaut Gold moves forward Magino construction with Ausenco EPC contract

Argonaut Gold says it has executed a fixed bid engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPC) contract with Ausenco Engineering Canada for the construction of the Magino open-pit gold processing facility and other parts of the Magino construction project, in Ontario, Canada.

The EPC contract totals around 40% of Magino’s initial capital estimate of between $360-$380 million, the company said.

A 2017 feasibility study on Magino, a past-producing mine, outlined a 10,000 t/d operation with average annual production of around 116,000 oz of gold over a 17-year mine life (including three years of ore processed from a low-grade stockpile). This same study stated open-pit mining operations would use a fleet comprised of 16 m3 front shovels, a 13 m3 front-end loader and 140 t haul trucks.

Pete Dougherty, President and CEO of Argonaut Gold, said: “Ausenco is an industry leader in the field of building high-quality processing facilities in the mining industry and recently did an excellent job with the Moose River project in Nova Scotia, Canada.

“We are excited for Magino to be one of the first projects entering construction in the current gold price environment, as we feel first mover advantage is critical when securing a construction team of the highest quality and with a superior track record.”

Argonaut recently posted the first phase of financial assurance with the province of Ontario and expects the Magino project Closure Plan to be filed by the province of Ontario in January 2021, which will allow for construction to commence.

NRW Holdings to add further mining/metals EPC capabilities with Primero acquisition

NRW Holdings is in pole position to take over Primero Group following a cash and shares bid that values Primero at A$100 million ($74 million).

Primero Directors, who own around 30% of Primero’s equity, have unanimously recommended its shareholders accept the offer in the absence of a superior proposal coming forward.

The addition of Primero, NRW says, would provide significant engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) capability to NRW’s renamed “Minerals, Energy & Technologies” business pillar.

For Primero, meanwhile, it would deliver a “meaningful premium” to recent market trading levels and avoid the need for a potential significantly dilutive capital raising to fund working capital required to deliver its 2021/2022 financial year contracted order book, NRW said. Primero currently has a contracted order book for FY21 of circa-A$285 million and holds preferred EPC contractor status across multiple projects totalling circa-A$900 million.

Managing Director of NRW, Jules Pemberton, said: “The acquisition of Primero will provide NRW with the opportunity to expand its Minerals, Energy & Technologies specialised capability and to leverage the combined expertise of both companies to pursue new business initiatives across a large pipeline of opportunities.

“It builds on NRW’s recent acquisitions of DIAB Engineering and RCR Mining Technologies and represents a further diversification of our strategic platform to offer clients continuity of services across the whole lifecycle of resource projects – from early planning, design, development, construction to operations and maintenance. In addition, Primero is also well positioned to future-focused energy solutions, including lithium and hydrogen technologies.”

Primero Managing Director, Cameron Henry, added: “The combination of NRW’s diversified delivery model coupled with the Primero capabilities will provide our client base with a unique end to end delivery model that will differentiate within the current market and will rapidly accelerate Primero’s growth strategy.

“Our teams have been working well at multiple levels together over the past 12 months and have several projects currently approaching delivery stage that will showcase the model.”

Detailed information relating to the offer will be set out in the Bidder’s Statement and Target’s Statement, which are expected to be dispatched to Primero shareholders in late November and early December 2020, respectively, the companies noted.

Monadelphous pockets more WA iron ore, nickel work with Rio and BHP

Engineering company Monadelphous Group says it has secured new construction and maintenance contracts with both Rio Tinto and BHP, with a combined value of around A$60 million ($44 million).

The company has been awarded three three-year master services contracts with Rio Tinto for the delivery of sustaining capital projects across various mine sites and port operations throughout the Pilbara region in Western Australia (stockyard machines at Rio’s West Angelas iron ore operation, pictured), it said.

This work includes structural, mechanical and piping, electrical, instrumentation and controls, and non-process infrastructure projects.

Monadelphous also secured a three-year contract, with a two-year extension option, with Rio Tinto to provide mechanical, electrical and access maintenance services for fixed plant shutdowns at Rio’s Gove alumina operations in the Northern Territory of Australia.

In addition, Monadelphous secured a 12-month extension to its existing mechanical and electrical maintenance, shutdown and project services contract across BHP’s Western Australian nickel operations.

RUC Cementation, GR Engineering plan to collaborate on Tanami Expansion work

RUC Cementation Mining Contractors and GR Engineering Services have agreed to team up as part of a plan to construct surface infrastructure, as well as complete the shaft lining and equipping for a proposed hoisting shaft at the Newmont-owned Tanami Expansion 2 project in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Today, Barry Upton (right), Managing Director of RUC Cementation Mining Contractors, and Geoff Jones (left, next to Rod Schier, Engineering Manager for GR Engineering), Managing Director of GR Engineering Services, signed this “Teaming Agreement”.

The surface infrastructure component the two plan to work on includes winders, headframe and surface conveyors.

The companies said: “Both companies have worked together to submit a competitive and technically strong offer for the works and look forward hopefully to an award in the near future.”

RUC added: “Whilst a departure from the traditional GR Engineering work scope of treatment plant construction, RUC Mining is very pleased to have GR on board as a key construction partner and values the excellence in construction that GRES bring.”

The Tanami Expansion 2 project is expected to increase the annual capacity of the processing site to 3.5 Mt/y, from 2.6 Mt/y, and extend the life of the mine beyond 2040.