Tag Archives: Primero Group

Primero bags Finniss lithium process plant EPC contract

Core Lithium has awarded Primero Group with the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the Finniss lithium process plant in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Primero’s award status has been updated from the initial preferred status awarded in 2019 and continues the long-standing relationship in the development of the project with the Core Lithium team and follows on from the successful delivery of Core’s definitive feasibility study and subsequent study updates, NRW Holdings, the parent company of Primero, says.

The project will commence immediately and is fully funded with site works planned to commence in March 2022 with commissioning of the facility due to commence in October 2022, according to NRW.

Primero’s work on the Finniss dense media separation (DMS) plant will entail project management; engineering and detailed design; equipment and materials procurement; DMS plant construction; quality assurance and construction verification, and ore commissioning on receipt of first ore, according to Core.

Primero Managing Director, Cameron Henry, says: “The Primero brand is synonymous with the processing and operation of battery metals and future energy and the Core Lithium project is another example of the quality of our processing knowledge in these industries. The working relationship with the Core team has been a four-year journey and we look forward to delivering on this contract and continuing the relationship with Core.”

NRW CEO, Jules Pemberton, added: “The NRW Holdings business continues to diversify its business streams into the future metals and energy space with another great award to the Primero Group team in the electric vehicle space with Core Lithium.”

The August definitive feasibility study on Finniss outlined a Stage 1 mine life of eight years with average production of 173,000 t/y at 5.8% Li2O.

NRW’s METS business takes flight with Primero’s latest contract awards

The first build own operate (BOO) contract initiatives, and the first major engineering, procurement, site support and commissioning contract in West Africa are some of the highlights from Primero Group’s latest contract awards.

The company, acquired by NRW Holdings earlier this year, has recently been awarded new contracts totalling circa-A$155 million ($114 million) with key clients. It has also progressed strategic initiatives that provide further strength to the group offering within the newly formed Minerals, Energy and Technology (METS) business under the NRW Holdings banner, NRW said. RCR Mining Technologies and DIAB Engineering also feature under the METS business.

“These include the award of the group’s BOO contract initiatives crystalising the strategic direction deployed by the group to enter the market of ownership and operation of processing infrastructure,” it said. “The equipment is designed, fabricated and constructed internally utilising the METS division companies and focuses on enabling the infrastructure to be relocatable, in alignment with other material handling products already being offered by the group.”

Primero has been awarded two key contracts with Mt Gibson Iron. The first is for the upgrade of the Koolan Island crushing circuit under an engineering and construction contract off the coast of Western Australia. The second is a two-year fixed crushing contract at the Shine development project in the Mid-West region of Western Australia under a BOO arrangement, with an option to extend.

Also, in the iron ore space and Western Australia, Primero has been awarded a four-year contract for crushing services at Atlas Iron’s proposed Miralga Creek operation in the Pilbara region. The contract provides crushing services for 2 Mt/y under a BOO scenario and will commence in early 2022.

In West Africa, meanwhile, Primero has secured its first major engineering, procurement, site support and commissioning contract for the Abujar gold project in Côte d’Ivoire, owned by Tietto Minerals. “The project award demonstrates the groups continuing growth and maturity in minerals processing engineering execution and diversity in capability across multiple commodities in the group,” NRW said.

The project is at a 3.5 Mt/y throughput scale with most of the contract revenue to be recognised in NRW’s 2022 financial year.

Back in Western Australia, meanwhile, Primero has been awarded the Mt Holland water supply pipeline construction contract from Covalent Lithium. The project follows on from the design services that Primero was awarded in October 2020 and completed including detailed construction planning and methodology for the 130 km pipeline and associated pumping facilities.

Site construction works have commenced, and the project is scheduled for completion in the March quarter of 2022.

As an updated note, Primero confirms the previously announced letter of intent with Panoramic Resources for the contract operations of the Savannah Nickel project has been finalised into a binding contract with a term of three years, as per Panoramic announcement dated April 6, 2021.

Work has already commenced in the preparation and operational readiness for the recommencement of the concentrator operations in-line with the announced restart plan of the mine in the September quarter with first shipments planned in December.

NRW CEO, Jules Pemberton, said: “The ongoing development of the METS pillar of the NRW Holdings Group is continuing to provide further success and market penetration within key client groups in our sector. Primero, as the newest addition to that group, has added significant capability and these recent contract awards showcase the diversity, capability and the expanding capacity of the group across multiple commodities and services.”

thyssenkrupp rail-mounted stacker handed over to BHP South Flank

thyssenkrupp says it has handed over the world’s largest rail-mounted stacker to its client BHP for the South Flank iron ore development in Western Australia,

The first stacker among a “trio of giants”, ST-04 took more than three years of research and design development in six countries, and two years of significant local fabrication, construction and commissioning processes, thyssenkrupp said.

Over the next few months, it will gradually ramp up its operating capacity of 20,000 t/h.

The engineering company was awarded this contract − one of its largest ever fabrication and construction projects in Western Australia − by BHP back in late 2018.

Under the €150 million ($181 million) contract, thyssenkrupp was to supply two stackers that deposit iron ore into stockyards for loading, and a reclaimer for loading the ore onto trains for transport to Port Hedland. The machines’ capacity of 20,000 t/h made them the largest rail-mounted stackers and reclaimers in the world, according to the company.

Primero has been helping thyssenkrupp in this pursuit, carrying out pre-assembly of the machines at its Australian Marine Complex, in Henderson, Western Australia.

In BHP’s half year results to December 31 released earlier this week, it said South Flank remained on budget and on track to deliver first production by mid-2021. The company expects the operation to ramp up to 80 Mt/y of output, helping replace production from the existing Yandi mine, which is reaching the end of its economic life.

Primero completes WHIMS project at Fortescue’s Christmas Creek iron ore op

Primero Group says it has completed the construction of a Wet High Intensity Magnetic Separation (WHIMS) processing plant at Fortescue Metals Group’s Christmas Creek iron ore mine in Western Australia.

The plant is expected to improve product grade and mass recovery from the desands unit at the Christmas Creek Ore Process Facility #2.

The flowsheet is based on a simple and robust configuration, where wet screen undersize at a nominal -1 mm is treated in open circuit through a low intensity magnetic stage, followed by a vertical WHIMS stage to produce a concentrate stream and a tailings stream, which can be integrated with the existing process and auxiliary equipment. The vertical WHIMS project entails the redirection of the wet screen undersize stream from the existing scrubbing circuit to feed the brownfield magnetic separation plant.

“We can proudly say that despite the impacts of COVID-19 and the fast-tracked nature of the project, the plant was successfully delivered and commissioned in less than 12 months – meeting all safety and project key performance indicators,” the company said.

Primero put the project’s success down partly to the “enhanced opportunity for collaboration early contractor involvement (ECI) provides”.

It added: “A flexible approach to project development that ensures the needs of all project stakeholders can be met prior to detailed design and implementation in a lump sum engineering procurement and construction (EPC) environment. This constructive, relationship-based contracting continued throughout construction, commissioning and now operation – demonstrating the power of the ECI contracting model when coupled with Primero’s unique, vertically integrated EPC capability.”

RCR and Primero Group to deliver crushing and conveying system for Fortescue

RCR Mining Technologies and Primero Group are to work together on delivering a primary crushing plant (PCP) and overland conveyor (OLC) for the Queens project at Fortescue Metals Group’s Solomon Hub operations in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

RCR, a wholly owned subsidiary of NRW Holdings, was awarded the A$80 million ($61.8 million) contract by Fortescue, with Primero being sub-contracted a A$30 million package to provide engineering support and construction services for the PCP and OLC.

RCR previously delivered the Hopper 9 Crushing Facility at Fortescue’s Cloudbreak mine, with the latest award “strategically significant for the business as it showcases our engineering-led delivery of innovative solutions”.

Civil construction and earthworks will be undertaken by NRW’s Civil division, while RCR and DIAB Engineering, together with Primero, “bring a very strong design, manufacture and construction capability to this project with an engineering-led philosophy of solutions and innovation”, NRW said.

NRW Holdings is in the middle of trying to take over Primero following a cash and shares bid that values Primero at A$100 million.

Alltype Engineering gassed up in Western Australia

WestStar Industrial’s engineering construction contracting business, Alltype Engineering, has been awarded contracts to a total value of circa-A$8 million ($6 million) across multiple clients and projects, including A$5 million of contracts in gas transmission.

APA Group has contracted Alltype to deliver multiple gas offtake and metering facility projects throughout the Midwest region of Western Australia. These turnkey multidiscipline projects involve civil, structural, mechanical, piping, electrical and instrumentation scopes, both workshop and site, with remote area working conditions and logistics and eight off-workshop fabricated gas skids to be completed off site.

Included in the projects are a gas lateral offtake and metering station for the Beyondie sulphate of potash project (pictured), a gas lateral offtake and metering project for the Lakeway SO4 potash project, and gas lateral offtake and metering work for Capricorn Metals’ Karlawinda gold project.

WestStar is also scheduled to build a gas lateral metering station for Primero Group at the Kalium Lakes potash project.

WestStar said: “These newly awarded contracts for Alltype continue to demonstrate its strength and reliability in working successfully with APA and the Australian gas industry, including both upstream and downstream projects.

“Furthermore, having fabricated, assembled and FAT tested over 20 modularised gas skid process packages in the last two years, Alltype continue to leverage off this experience and knowhow to fast track aggressive timeline projects with full supply chain control.”

Alltype has commenced the works for APA Group, which are planned to be completed by the March quarter of 2021.

In addition to this work, Alltype says it was awarded its first contract from Newmont at the Boddington gold mine, also in Western Australia. This contract had an aggressive timeline for completion of urgent fabricated plate and piping componentry for a shutdown, which was achieved. The balance of works is in the process of being completed, it noted.

Still in Western Australia, Alltype says it continues to provide goods and services for the three major iron ore developments in the Pilbara, being BHP South Flank, Rio Tinto Gudai-Darri and FMG’s majority-owned Iron Bridge project.

Piedmont enlists Primero and Marshall Miller for lithium concentrate DFS

Piedmont Lithium has awarded the definitive feasibility study (DFS) of its planned spodumene concentrate operations in North Carolina, USA, to a combined team including Primero Group and Marshall Miller & Associates.

Marshall Miller is to lead quarry design activities, while Primero will advance the concentrator design, infrastructure design, and be responsible for overall study management, Piedmont said.

The study will target production of 160,000 t/y of 6% Li2O spodumene concentrate, as well as co-products including quartz and feldspar. It will include the results of the pilot test work currently ongoing at SGS Canada, which will involve “dense medium and flotation” pilot work.

Piedmont expects to complete the study on its namesake project in mid-2021 and pursue an investment decision for the concentrate operations shortly after.

At the same time, Piedmont says it is looking into developing an integrated lithium hydroxide business in North Carolina, with a planned lithium chemical plant DFS to commence in the March quarter.

Earlier in 2020, Piedmont entered a memorandum of understanding with Primero Group related to delivering the planned spodumene concentrator at the Piedmont lithium project. The two have partnered since early 2018, with Primero having been the lead engineering consultant for Piedmont’s scoping studies, concentrator design, and metallurgical test work management.

Piedmont has engaged Marshall Miller, based in Bluefield, Virginia, since 2018 to advance mine design, permitting activities, survey, geotechnical study, waste rock and tailings storage design, and other engineering support services.

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.

Rio flying high at technologically advanced Gudai-Darri iron ore project

Western Australia’s newest airport has opened at Rio Tinto’s $2.6 billion Gudai-Darri (formerly known as Koodaideri) iron ore project in the Pilbara where construction is progressing ahead of expected production ramp-up in early 2022.

The facility can accept a range of different aircraft including Boeing 737s, A320s, F100s and King Airs. The current flight schedule includes four flights a week with additional flights expected to be added to the schedule next year. The airport is expected to handle more than 600 workers in a day at peak operating times, according to Rio.

The airport will deliver significant benefits in terms of minimising employee interaction with vehicles and driving, as well as helping to manage employee fatigue thanks to a significant reduction in travel time from an alternate regional airport, Rio says. The airport will also provide a safer landing option for Rio Tinto’s long-standing partner, the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Rio Tinto Projects General Manager, Gudai-Darri, Anthony Radici, said: “You get a real sense of the immense size and scale of our Gudai-Darri operation once you fly into this new airport.

“The construction phase of the project is progressing well with a significant amount of infrastructure at the mine now built, millions of cubic metres of material moved, a new access road, a significant amount of the rail formation installed, two new bridges constructed and now a brand new airport.”

Rio Tinto Iron Ore Acting Chief Executive, Ivan Vella, said: “The construction phase of Gudai-Darri, our most technologically advanced mine, has a strong focus on supporting local businesses with contracts valued at more than $2.3 billion awarded to date.

“These contracts have supported approximately 2,000 jobs in the construction phase and the mining operation is expected to support about 600 jobs on an ongoing basis. We are proud to support West Australian businesses as we progress a pipeline of investment opportunities in the Pilbara valued at more than A$10 billion ($7.3 billion) over the three years to 2022.”

Contracts at Gudai-Darri valued at more than $2.3 billion have been awarded to local Pilbara, Pilbara Aboriginal and West Australian Businesses including Primero Group, NRW, DTMT, Pindan, White Springs, Hicks Civil & Mining and Karratha Earthmoving & Sand Supplies.

The full construction and design of the airport will be completed by local partners Primero Group, NRW, Worley and GHD, together with NRW subcontractors Colas, Fulton Hogan, TEC services, Brookdale Contractors, Bennco and Karlka Fencewright.

Gudai-Darri is a greenfield mine development, around 35 km northwest of the Yandicoogina mine in the East Pilbara mining region. The mine will initially be developed as a nominal 43 Mt/y high-grade, dry processing operation.

Primero banks new work with Fortescue, Rio Tinto and Hazer Group

Primero Group says it has recently booked new business totalling some A$55 million ($39 million) with Fortescue Metals Group, Rio Tinto and the Hazer Group as it continues to build out its 2021 financial year contracted order book.

First, it has been awarded the engineering, procurement and construction contract for the Non-Process Infrastructure (NPI) at Fortescue’s Eliwana mine and rail project, in the Pilbara.

Works commenced in late July based on a limited notice to proceed, with the full contract now awarded to Primero following a successful Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) process. The contract includes the complete engineering design, procurement and construction of heavy vehicle workshops and washdown and refuelling infrastructure required for the new Eliwana mine, with works expected to be completed in the 2021 financial year.

Once completed, the $1.275 billion Eliwana project, which includes the building of a 30 Mt/y iron ore processing facility, will maintain Fortescue’s overall production rate of a minimum 170 Mt/y over 20 years.

With Rio Tinto, Primero has been awarded two multi-year Master Service Agreements for NPI and Structural, Mechanical, Piping services across the miner’s Pilbara operational and project locations. The two contracts have an initial term of three years, with an option for a two-year extension. They cover sustaining capital and maintenance projects required over that period across all Rio Tinto Iron Ore Pilbara sites, it said.

The services cover design, procurement and construction activities for engagement under negotiated commercial terms in a “panel style agreement”, according to Primero.

Primero has also been awarded an EPC contract for Hazer Group’s hydrogen/graphene commercial demonstration plant in Western Australia at the Woodman Point Water Treatment Facility.

Hazer is undertaking the commercialisation of the Hazer Process, a low-emission hydrogen and graphite production process. This process enables the effective conversion of natural gas and similar methane feedstocks, into hydrogen and high-quality graphite, using iron ore as a process catalyst, according to the company.

“The full project award has followed a successful ECI process that has extended over the past 12 months,” Primero said. “This process was targeted at developing the technology engineering to the point where a commercial contract could be executed to deliver the project. The project is the first of its kind in the new global renewables energy market and is patented groundbreaking technology in the hydrogen space.”

Alongside this, Primero said it had been awarded the detailed design contract for a 130 km water delivery pipeline and associated pumping stations for the Covalent Lithium Mt Holland project feasibility study in Western Australia.

Primero said its committed order book for the 2021 financial year now stands at around A$285 million.