Tag Archives: Primero

Panoramic, Primero and Barminco get to work on restarting Savannah nickel operation

Panoramic Resources Ltd, after a 12-month review process, has approved the restart of the Savannah Nickel Operation, in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.

The decision hinges on a 12-year mine life with an average annual production target of 9,072 t of nickel, 4,683 t of copper and 676 t cobalt in concentrate; as well as an offtake agreement with Trafigura that will also see the trading company provide a loan facility of up to A$45 million to cover the A$41 million of upfront capital cost required to restart the mine.

Savannah is set to operate at average site all-in costs of A$6.36/lb of payable nickel, net of copper and cobalt by-product credits and royalty payments. This equates to roughly $4.86/Ib or $10,714/t.

Savannah, with more than A$100 million already invested, has been maintained since the suspension of operations in April 2020 with a view towards operational readiness and project optimisation. This includes the recent completion of the FAR#3 ventilation raise, underground capital development on four mining levels at Savannah North and ancillary capital works on surface and underground infrastructure, which are currently being completed, Panoramic said.

The restart decision has led to divisions of Perenti and NRW Holdings being awarded significant contracts related to the resumption of mining activities.

Barminco, a subsidiary of the Perenti Group, has been awarded a four-year underground mining contract under a binding letter of intent and is scheduled to mobilise to site in July 2021. The contract will be serviced by new underground mining equipment including the use of tele-remote mining equipment, expected to deliver both safety and productivity benefits, Panoramic said.

The contractor was formally awarded the A$200 million contract back in February.

“Based on Barminco’s previous working knowledge at Savannah, opportunities to increase ore production and reduce dilution have also been identified,” the company added, explaining that underground mining is planned to commence in August, with ore to initially be sourced from both the Savannah and the Savannah North deposits.

Following an evaluation of an owner-operator model for the processing plant and a competitive contract tender process, Panoramic has also signed a non-binding letter of intent worth A$35 million with Primero (owned by NRW Holdings), which envisages a three-year agreement. The agreement relates to all processing and maintenance work at the Savannah processing plant, which has been maintained in “excellent condition” during the suspension, Panoramic said.

“A number of opportunities for improved recoveries through enhanced operating practices and minor capital projects have been identified,” the company added. As a result, the non-binding letter of intent with Primero has been structured to incentivise achieving higher than budget recoveries.

Panoramic is working with Primero to complete a binding contract in the coming months, but ore processing is set to restart in November 2021, allowing ore stockpiles to build for around three months (100,000 t) to de-risk ore supply issues.

The process plant at Savannah was commissioned in August 2004 and comprises a single stage crusher, SAG mill, flotation, thickening and filtering stages to produce a bulk nickel, copper, cobalt concentrate. Over the 2004 to 2016 initial operating period, metallurgical recoveries averaged 86-89% for nickel, 94-97% for copper and 89-92% for cobalt. The plant was originally designed for a throughput of 750,000 t/y, but consistently outperformed the design specifications with rates exceeding 1 Mt on an annualised basis, Panoramic said.

First concentrate shipment from the Wyndham Port is targeted for December 2021.

Piedmont locks in Primero for lithium concentrator development

Piedmont Lithium has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Primero Group that could see the Australia-based engineering firm deliver the planned spodumene concentrator at the Piedmont lithium project in North Carolina, USA.

Piedmont says it and Primero 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.

“Building on this strong relationship, Piedmont and Primero have entered into the MoU to work together on an exclusive basis to agree binding documentation relating to the definitive feasibility study (DFS), front-end engineering design, EPC (engineering procurement and construction) delivery, commissioning, ramp-up and contract operations of the spodumene concentrator,” Piedmont said.

Referencing previous work of Primero’s, Piedmont said the engineering firm’s EPC and contract operations services at Alliance Minerals’ Bald Hill mine, in Australia, notably achieved nameplate capacity within two months of plant commissioning.

Cameron Henry, Managing Director of Primero, commented: “Piedmont is a world-class project surrounded by infrastructure and ideally located near potential customers in the USA’s auto alley.

“We look forward to applying our specialist expertise in project implementation and operations to assist Piedmont in advancing the only spodumene project currently under development in the United States.”

Keith D Phillips, President and CEO of Piedmont, said the MoU represented a key milestone as the company builds out its project execution team, “with an emphasis on working with proven processes and experienced professionals”.

The EPC and operations contract models contemplated by the MOU provide incentives for Primero to achieve safety, schedule, budget, process performance, production, and recovery targets, Piedmont said.

“The arrangements contemplated by the MoU create a delivery framework which significantly reduces technical, operational and commercial risks associated with the concentrator,” it added.

“The company continues to evaluate other strategic partnerships that could enhance performance in the design, construction and operations of other aspects of Piedmont’s integrated lithium hydroxide business.”

The prefeasibility study on the Piedmont lithium project, released earlier this year, envisaged two options – a “Merchant” project and an “Integrated” project. Both included an annual average lithium hydroxide production (steady-state) of 22,720 t, but only the latter included 160,000 t/y of 6% Li2O spodumene concentrate production over the 25-year mine life.

Primero looks to Track’em for materials inventory solution on WA iron ore expansion project

Primero, following the signing of a contract with Track’em, is to use the Material Tracking solution to increase visibility and control of its materials for construction works on a major iron ore expansion project in Western Australia.

Track’em provides a central, cloud-based solution for tracking materials across the supply chain, according to its owner. By using the system, Primero and its project partners will be able to manage, monitor, update and report on materials in real time from any location, it said.

“We’re really excited to partner with a successful fast-growing multi-disciplinary engineering company such as Primero,” Kashif Saleem, Founder and CEO of Track’em, said. “Track’em will allow Primero to take ownership of the materials control processes to streamline operations. It promotes efficiency and reduces the risk of losing expensive materials with long lead times.”

Track’em provides stakeholders with an integrated system that gives continuous visibility on the location, status, condition and custody of materials. The Track’em app will further enable users to quickly locate, scan and update parts and components, while digitising form-based processes such as inspections and transfer documents, according to the company.

Mark Pensabene, Executive General Manager Project Delivery, Primero, said: “Primero Group always prefers to engage with local partners to support the industry. For this project – with the volume of materials required – we needed a world-class materials control system.

“We looked at WA-based Track’em and were very impressed. It’s the most sophisticated materials tracking platform that we’ve ever come across, yet it is surprisingly simple to use. It will equip workers throughout the supply chain – from our fabricators to site – to use a single system giving us end-to-end visibility.”

While no specific iron ore expansion project was mentioned by either Primero or Track’em in the release, Primero is currently working on both the South Flank and Koodaideri iron ore projects for BHP and Rio Tinto, respectively, in addition to the expansion of the Robe Valley iron ore operations, owned jointly by Rio, Mitsui and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal.

Kalium Lakes locks in Beyondie gas pipeline, SOP purification plant contracts

Kalium Lakes has been on a contract spree, announcing the award of four contracts in the past week that will move its Beyondie sulphate of potash project, in Western Australia, closer to production.

On Monday, it announced contract awards for the design, supply and construction of its fully-owned gas lateral at the project with Edgen Murray set to manufacture and supply 79.4 km of coated linepipe, Pipecraft to carry out the gas pipeline installation and Primero to design and construct the inlet and delivery station.

This followed, in June, the company securing key contracts with APA Group and Shell Energy Australia for the transportation and supply of gas to meet the requirements of the project.

On Wednesday, the company then confirmed that it had awarded DRA Global’s G&S Engineering a circa-A$20 million ($13.5 million) contract to build the sulphate of potash purification plant at the operation.

The scope of the contract includes completion of all works associated with civil and concrete construction; structural steel assembly and erection; mechanical equipment assembly and installation; platework assembly and installation; piping installation; electrical, instrumentation and controls installation; dry commissioning, and wet commissioning support services in cooperation with Ebtec.

The project aims to commence production at 90,000 t/y of sulphate of potash, before ramping up to 180,000 t/y for domestic and international sale. An initial mine life of between 30-50 years is anticipated for a project designed to be a low cost, long life and high margin producer, Kalium Lakes says.