Tag Archives: SRK Consulting

SRK Consulting helps DRC miner with social development ‘first’

A large mining company in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has – with assistance from SRK Consulting Congo – become the first to have its Cahier de Charge (Social Term Sheet) approved, the mining consultant says.

Regulations introduced in the DRC in 2018 require mines to set out a clear and financially-provisioned five-year plan for local social development – a Cahier de Charge – in consultation with local communities and stakeholders. According to Susa Maleba, Country Manager at SRK Consulting Congo, the key aspect of the new requirement was that effective consultation be conducted.

“Mines generally have community development plans but these are often designed by the mine, which historically had little formalised input from local communities or other stakeholders,” said Maleba. “This compulsory consultative process – as part of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment – ensures that mine initiatives align with the real needs and preferences of those affected by the mine.”

The mining company contracted SRK Consulting Congo to work with its DRC mine on planning and implementing the consultation. This process began in 2018 and lasted four months. The final agreement between the communities and the company was signed off in March 2019.

Established a decade ago in Lubumbashi, the local SRK office appointed its stakeholder engagement specialist, Philippe Katuta, to guide the process.

Susa Maleba, Country Manager at SRK Consulting Congo

“As an experienced local expert who is well regarded by the mining communities, Phillipe supervised the process with the client – facilitating contact between the mine, three local communities, the ‘chefferies’ tribal structure and provincial government,” Maleba said.

He highlighted the importance of having the trust of all parties in the consultation, to ensure frank engagement and effective buy-in. This, in turn, helped ensure proper implementation of the agreed plan, so that the intended benefits would be achieved, according to SRK.

“Essential factors in the success of the process included our experience in stakeholder engagement and our local knowledge – from local language communication to the traditions and customs to be observed,” Maleba said. “Working with mining companies, we emphasise the social licence aspect of their strategy and operations – which prioritises close working relationships with partners, communities and government. It means applying the spirit – not just the letter – of the law.”

Among the social development imperatives highlighted by communities during the engagements were transformers to link with the country’s power grid, boreholes for access to water, agricultural extension programs and trade training for local youth.

Maleba acknowledged that it was seldom easy to balance the expectations of communities with the financial resources of the mining company, but this made the relationship of trust a vital foundation for collaboration.

He also noted that the new regulations provided for ongoing monitoring of mines’ community development plans – to ensure that what was promised was in fact delivered, in line with a predetermined schedule.

Condor Gold accelerates La India development with Metso Outotec SAG mill acquisition

Condor Gold has entered into an agreement to purchase a completely new Metso Outotec SAG mill package from First Majestic Silver to serve its La India project in Nicaragua.

The purchase consideration is around $6.5 million – made up of cash and shares – with the SAG mill representing a key item of the plant required to bring La India into production, Condor said.

The SAG mill is estimated by Metso Outotec’s technical support group to have a 2,300 t/d (800,000 t/y) throughput on a sustained basis, based on the metallurgical characteristics of the ore and mineralised material at La India. Based on internal technical studies and mining dilution studies conducted by SRK Consulting, initial production at La India is expected to be 80,000-100,000 oz/y of gold.

Condor says the SAG mill and parts are 90% ready to be shipped. The 2,300 t/d capacity forms “Stage 1 of production”, with capacity to be expanded materially after two to three years of production. Its delivery reduces the order time of this key long lead item by 12 months, fast tracking La India project into production. Condor said there is the possibility of increasing throughput by 22% to 2,850 t/d by installing a 4,100 kW motor (currently a 3,330 kW motor).

Mark Child, Chairman and CEO, said: “The key message is Condor has purchased and sized the mill at 2,300 t/d, significantly shortened the mill delivery time, set a trajectory for detailed project design and an accelerated path to production. What’s more, Condor has acquired a state-of-the-art, complete new SAG mill package with warrantees, manufactured and supplied by Metso Outotec, the premier manufacturer of grinding mills and entire grinding systems for the global mining industry.”

Condor plans to commence gold production at La India in 24 months.

The SAG mill agreement has come about as First Majestic ordered a complete new SAG mill package, which, Condor says, is now superfluous to its requirements.

The SAG mill has a mill diameter of 24 ft (7.3 m) and an effective grinding length of 18.5 ft and a structural charge mass of 315 t, Condor Gold said. The structural design ball charge is 11% with a structural design load volume of 35%. Specific gravity of the material is 2.55. The structural steel liner mass is 240 t; however, with the use of lighter composite liners, the weight and corresponding power requirement can be reduced significantly to 120 t.

The complete SAG mill package manufactured and supplied by Metso Outotec includes:

  • Mill shell fabricated in 8 x 90° segments;
  • Mill heads cast in 4 x 90° segments with demountable trunnions;
  • Ductile ring gear and carbonized pinion shaft;
  • Pinion shaft assembly equipment;
  • Erection cradles;
  • Bracket, coupling and guard;
  • Pinion bearings-2-pad polymer hydrostatic bearings;
  • Transformer for the mill;
  • Gear unit, steel guard and fasteners;
  • Allen Bradley variable speed drive;
  • Allen Bradley PLC mill local panel;
  • 3,300 kW WEG SCIM (motor);
  • Bearing housing;
  • Torque limiter and hubs;
  • Complete feed assembly. ‘Rock box’ feed chute with replaceable steel wear liners;
  • Complete discharge assembly. Fabricated discharge cone (no trommel screen) with replaceable rubber wear liners;
  • Discharge trunnion liner with replaceable rubber wear liners;
  • Installation materials and some spares;
  • Trunnion bearing;
  • Hydraulic torque wrench kit;
  • Liner handler; and
  • Howard Marten lubrication systems (trunnion oil lube, reducer/pinion oil lube, gear spray grease lube).

It is assumed that a pebble crusher will be used in the comminution circuit to provide some additional grinding power and to manage critical size fraction material, Condor said. The SAG mill is equipped with a variable speed drive to allow the mill to operate between 1,500 t/d and 2,300 t/d. Furthermore, it is possible to increase the daily throughput by increasing the motor size, as previously indicated. The 22% boost in throughput could potentially allow gold production to increase by a similar amount, the company said.

The SRK 2017 Technical Report on La India outlined an overall process flowsheet based on a single stage SAG comminution and conventional carbon-in-leach circuit.

SRK reflects on rock-related accidents in South Africa mining industry

Rock-related accidents in South Africa’s mining sector have reduced significantly in recent decades, due in large part to incremental improvements in rock engineering practice, SRK Consulting explains.

According to William Joughin (pictured), Chairman of SRK Consulting and himself a rock engineering expert, the company’s contribution in this field has included assisting mines with reviews of safety practices, as well as providing safe rock engineering designs and detailed seismic hazard analysis.

Fall of ground (FOG) is the leading cause of fatalities in the sector, making up a third of mining fatalities in 2019, according to the Minerals Council South Africa. The organisation has reported recently that total FOG injuries have dropped from 1,121 in 2003 to 379 in 2019, while FOG fatalities are down from 131 to 20 over this period.

Joughin notes, however, that this reduction in the number of injuries and fatalities is also linked to the general decline in mining industry employment. There have been few major technological changes implemented in the last five years, in particular, which could help reduce injuries and fatalities. Instead, the focus has been on behavioural change.

“The industry is focusing its efforts on changing human behaviour, because the exposure of people remains high and workers have to manually implement safety measures,” Joughin said. “These efforts have had mixed results, but there is renewed research and development into mechanisation that could significantly reduce the exposure of workers to the more hazardous aspects of mining.”

Methods of seismic monitoring and hazard analysis continue to be developed as new technologies become available. Within its diverse range of projects conducted for the mining industry, SRK contributes to raising safety levels in South Africa mines in these and other ways, according to SRK Consulting Director and Principal Consultant, Andrew van Zyl.

“We have been involved in the Test Mine project and are currently involved with Mine Health and Safety Council projects on collision control and rock safety,” Van Zyl said. “We are also doing pioneering geotechnical work in both the open pit and underground environment.”

He added that the company’s work on water management and mine closure also contribute indirectly to the general levels of improved safety in mining, as do its contributions to tailings dam management in and around mines.

COVID-19 restrictions could lead to more ‘economical’ technical audits, SRK’s Dalgliesh says

SRK Consulting’s Chris Dalgliesh believes the COVID-19 pandemic – specifically, the restrictions on movement – could change the way engineering projects are assessed now and in the future.

These projects face a growing range of audits, assessment, and monitoring, but will these restrictions make it difficult for consultants to carry out this vital work, he asks?

The answer lies in leveraging information systems and communication platforms and finding innovative ways of verifying information that used to be confirmed during a site visit (an example shown in the picture above, pre-COVID-19), according to Dalgliesh. While some audits monitor a range of project risks on behalf of financiers or investors, others are necessary to satisfy regulatory requirements.

“Meeting clients face-to-face on a project site has usually been considered by consultants as an integral part of conducting an audit or assessment,” Dalgliesh said. “But COVID-19 lockdown conditions have forced us to look at other ways of verifying information. This might include the sharing of satellite imagery online, or live data reviews with the client as part of the audit record.”

He highlighted that most audits require a combination of desktop work – analysing documentation and data from the client – and on-the-ground observation conducted during a site visit.

“In many of the larger, international projects where we monitor environmental and social performance against good international industry practice such as the Performance Standards of the International Finance Corporation, it is certainly very useful, even essential, to be physically present,” he said.

This is particularly the case where an audit needs to ascertain the capacity of health, safety and environment teams, and to assess whether something has been done to the required standard.

SRK Consulting Principal Environmental Scientist, Chris Dalgliesh

“Other types of audits require us to analyse past performance rather than current activities, and here the documentation is really the focus,” he said.

The amount of time required on site also depends on the phase of the project, according to Sharon Jones, also a Principal Environmental Scientist at SRK.

“For instance, the National Environmental Management Act requires statutory audits against Environmental Authorisations,” Jones said. “These focus in a fairly binary manner on whether the conditions of these authorisations are being implemented on site.”

Many of these are conducted when the project is already operational, so much of the work has already been undertaken and the project is either compliant or not.

“These kinds of audits lend themselves more to document review, where we scrutinise the systems in place and the documented evidence of action,” she said. “This aspect is usually more important than observing directly what is being done on site.”

Sharon Jones, Principal Environmental Scientist at SRK Consulting

She said the same usually applies to audits for Water Use Licences and Atmospheric Emissions Licences. Here, documented evidence must be supplied by the client, for the consultant to audit against local compliance limits and international standards. This data is provided in good faith that it is accurate and valid.

“In the past, there has generally been a ‘close out’ session with the client, in which the consultant returns to site following an audit, to report back,” she said. “Working remotely under COVID-19 lockdown conditions, it is clear that some of these interactions can be conducted remotely.”

However, she emphasised there are several minimum requirements for a remote audit to be an acceptable alternative to a site visit. For example, the consultant will generally have seen the site before, and on-site conditions must not change between seasons. Also, the consultant will have to be satisfied with the culture in place at the client’s operations – in terms of overall adherence to good international practice. This would provide assurance that audit data provided by the client is correct and reliable.

Under these conditions, there may be an opportunity for clients and consultants alike to save on the cost and time of travelling to site.

Dalgliesh noted that digital communication platforms are proving invaluable in making remote audits increasingly feasible.

“Meetings and conferencing using online platforms can often facilitate the iterative nature of our role, where we may need to be in close contact with a client over a period of time,” he said. “Doing this remotely can also make the process more focused and economical.”

Apart from the time and cost savings of not travelling to site – which may even involve regional or international travel – these online communication tools allow specific people within an organisation to be targeted for discussion as and when necessary, instead of having a large client team on standby.

A practical point not to be overlooked is that time is a scarce resource, and time spent travelling to site could often be better spent on the more detailed interrogation of existing documentation.

“A move towards doing more of our work remotely is likely to mean that we spend more time evaluating documented data,” Jones said. “This might even change our approach towards doing more desktop preparation and might be the new normal for certain categories of audit. The physical visits – which could be fewer and further between – would be for the purposes of verifying and corroborating, rather than discovery.”

Skeena Resources signs up Ausenco, SRK and AGP for Eskay Creek PFS

Skeena Resources is to commence a prefeasibility study (PFS) on its Eskay Creek gold-silver project in the Golden Triangle of northwest British Columbia, Canada.

The goal of the PFS is to de-risk Eskay Creek, while developing an appropriate execution strategy to ensure fast-tracked development towards commercial production, Skeena says.

Given the success of the team that developed the preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for Eskay Creek, Skeena says it will once again partner with Ausenco Engineering Canada, SRK Consulting, and AGP Mining Consultants to complete the PFS. The target completion date for the PFS is summer 2021.

This PEA envisaged a high-grade open-pit mine producing a life of mine average of 236,000 oz/y of gold and 5.81 Moz of at all-in sustaining costs (including by products) of $615/oz gold recovered. It would involve a 6,850 t/d mill and flotation plant producing a saleable concentrate.

Shane Williams, Skeena’s new Chief Operating Officer, said: “I am very excited to be joining the Skeena team at this transitional stage in the company’s history. The PFS is the next step in the evolution of Eskay Creek as we move this high-grade, open-pit project towards development and through to commercial production.”

A key work program as part of the development of the PFS will be an extensive infill drilling program to convert a large portion of the inferred resources into the measured and indicated category and following completion of the PFS, declare maiden reserves for Eskay Creek, Skeena said.

The company said: “Following the completion of the Eskay Creek PEA in 2019, several areas were identified that could be optimised and enhanced with further work. This includes optimising the metallurgy and the concentrate quality and to better optimise the flowsheet.

“Another focus area will be to gain a better understanding of the geotechnical characteristics in the open pit, which will allow for further pit optimisation studies. Preparations and planning for these work programs are ongoing.”

Subject to the agreement with Barrick, upon exercise of the option to acquire a 100%-interest in Eskay Creek, the company will enter the permitting process for the expanded Eskay Creek project, it said.

Skeena has already begun the environmental studies that are required for permitting and has initiated community engagement and consultation with Indigenous Nations.

Mining network needs to align on safe tailings dam design, SRK’s Spies says

Safer tailings storage facilities (TSFs) – or tailings dams – can be achieved when mine owners, contractors and engineering consultants work closely together, says SRK Consulting’s Linda Spies.

Speaking after a recent Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM) conference focusing on tailings dams, Spies, Senior Geotechnical Engineer at SRK Consulting, said that mining executives today required more assurance that their tailings dams are safe, with controls becoming much stricter. Greater transparency was also being demanded by other stakeholders such as investors and communities, she added.

“After several hundred lives were lost in two well-publicised tailings dam failures in Brazil, in 2015 and 2019, awareness of tailings dam risks has been raised within the mining industry and in the public eye globally,” she said. “These latest failures were especially significant insofar as senior management at the mining companies were for the first time being implicated directly with charges of manslaughter and environmental damage.”

She noted that while conferences on this topic usually involved mainly tailings dam practitioners and academics, this event had strong representation from owners; contractors, who are responsible for tailings dam construction; and consultants, who design TSFs and monitor their construction.

“This meant that the discussion was more holistic and valuable, enriched with insights from these various perspectives,” she said. “This is vital in promoting innovation, safety and environmental and social responsibility in the design, operation and closure of tailings dams.”

While the tone of the event was serious considering recent failures, there was also an optimism flowing from a showcasing of best practice in the field and how this was being successfully applied. In her own case study presentation on a lined tailings dam at a South African platinum mine (Impala’s Marula dam), Spies highlighted the complexities introduced by the liner requirement – and how good drainage design and quality assurance were an important part of the solution. (see Getting lined tailings storage facilities right below)

Among the key issues discussed at the conference was whether upstream tailings dams should be allowed – as this was one of the commonalities in the recent Brazil failures. High-level input was given in a panel discussion by senior leaders from a mining company, a law firm and an insurance firm, including technical opinions from tailings industry expert and specialist geotechnical engineer Adriaan Meintjes, a Partner and Corporate Consultant from SRK.

According to SRK Principal Hydrogeologist and Numerical Modeller, Sheila Imrie, who also presented at the event, tailings is rightly receiving considerable attention from a combined engineering and scientific perspective and will continue to do so in the future.

“The continued application of the latest technologies by the industry’s top experts is critical,” Imrie said. “Industry must also ensure that sufficiently detailed research, monitoring and numerical modelling informs the future design and current management of tailings dams.”

She presented a paper on ‘3D Seepage Modelling in Tailings Storage Facility Analysis and Design for Low Permeability Lined Basins’ with SRK Civil Engineer, Wesley Rouncivell. A key aspect of the safe operation of tailings dams into the future involves comprehensive and rigorous monitoring of these facilities on a regular and real-time basis, they said.

In another SRK presentation, GIS Specialist, Ansu Louw, and Civil Engineer, Riaan van der Colf, gave their insights on a ‘GIS-enabled, Web-based TSF Monitoring Solution’ by SRK to enhance monitoring of tailings facilities.

Getting lined tailings storage facilities right

The inclusion of a liner in a tailings dam brings many environmental benefits, but also increased complexity in design, construction and operation, Spies says.

In her presentation – ‘Design of an HDPE-lined platinum tailings facility in South Africa’ – at the SAIMM Tailings Storage Conference, in Gauteng, recently, Spies highlighted the importance of well-designed drainage systems. These are vital to drawing down the phreatic surface, reducing the seepage gradient and minimising the liquefaction potential of tailings, she said.

She also emphasised high construction standards to ensure tailings dams successfully limit seepage, and outlined a series of quality control and assurance measures.

OZ Minerals Explorer Challenge winners crowned

OZ Minerals has awarded multiple prizes as part of the online crowdsourcing Explorer Challenge, organised in partnership with energy and resources open innovation platform Unearthed.

The submissions for the crowdsourcing competition to find new exploration targets at the Mount Woods tenements of the Prominent Hill copper-gold mine (pictured), in South Australia, ranged from cutting edge machine learning to advanced physical modelling, with OZ Minerals making more than six terabytes of public and private exploration data available to competitors.

The three month long competition concluded on May 31, 2019, having seen over 1,000 global participants from 62 countries register for the chance to not only win a A$1 million ($701,156) prize pool, but also have its concepts tested in real life, with the top targets scheduled to be drilled by the end of 2019.

First prize (A$500,000) went to Team Guru, a team made up of Michael Rodda (data scientist), Jesse Ober (environmental scientist) and Glen Willis (process engineering) for an approach that included interpretable machine learning models for mineral exploration using geochemistry, geophysics and surface geology.

Second prize (A$200,000) went to DeepSightX, a team made up of Dong Gong, Javen Qinfeng Shi, Zifeng Wu, Hao Zhang, Ehsan Abbasnejad, Lingqiao Liu, Anton van den Hengel, Karl Hornlund, and John Alexander Anderson. This team exploited multi-disciplinary skills at the intersection of artificial intelligence and geoscience, leveraging this to generate an artificial intelligence model to provide promising exploration targets in the Prominent Hill Region (PHR) supported by best practice geoscience.

Third prize (A$100,000) went to Hugh Sanderson, Derek Carter and Chris Green from team Cyency. Cyency has a strong data science and geoscience background, with Sanderson practising “deep learning” for several years, Carter being involved with the technical and software side of mining for over 10 years, and Green being an experienced geologist. The team said: “With so much data, it was difficult to know where to start, so we started with what we knew – the results from the Data Science Stream. We had a set of models that we knew were pretty good at predicting mineralisation across Australia, so we ran them over the tenement…we applied several data science techniques to estimate a set of candidate points, and then selected the 10 best of these.”

The Student Team prize of A$50,000 went to deCODES’ Christopher Leslie, Matthew Cracknell, Angela Escolme, Shawn Hood, and Ayesha Ahmed. A team of early career researchers from CODES, University of Tasmania, its approach was driven by considering an iron oxide copper gold (IOCG) metallogenic model, and then “striving to produce digital proxies for all aspects of that model. Our prospectivity layers were created using a mix of manual and traditional data handling methods as well as basic machine learning approaches”.

The Genius prize (A$25,000) went to Team OreFox’s Warwick Anderson, Sheree Burdinat, Kudzai Dube, Amy Leask, Alan Ryou Pearse, Ashleigh Smyth, and Nick Josephs. The brainchild of two exploration geologists, Anderson and Burdinat, OreFox has built up a team of experts with backgrounds in geophysics, data science, statistics, geology and prospecting to tackle the Explorer Challenge, using its proprietary artificial intelligence systems to analyse the data supplied by OZ Minerals as well as open source data obtained through Geoscience Australia and the SARIG database.

The Insights prize (A$25,000) was awarded to Avant Data Solutions, a multidisciplinary team consisting of data science and programming, and geological domain expertise. The team took a heavily data driven approach with verification and interpretation using geology, with the challenge tackled, first, by analysing and exploring the data in detail and finding what data might be overlooked.

The Data Hound and Fusion Prizes (both A$25,000) went to Team Phar Lap and SRK Consulting, respectively.
Team Phar Lap consists of a mathematician, a physicist, a German trained geologist and ecologist, a pilot, and a US trained geologist, offering a latticework of geosciences and data science. The consortium used a mixed approach between geological interpretation and data crunching with a strong focus on controlled learning.

SRK’s team was made up qualified structural geologists across offices in Perth, Melbourne, Toronto and Vancouver, with “the approach including the re-interpretation and/or value-add of the provided and available datasets followed by a multi-pronged and integrated targeting approach applying data-driven machine learning (based on a balanced random forest algorithm) and weights of evidence to guide a set of knowledge-driven mineral systems informed fuzzy inference solutions”, Unearthed said.

OZ Minerals Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Cole, said: “The innovators who participated in the Explorer Challenge have provided approaches to mineral exploration that we never would have imagined internally, including ways to fuse datasets together, combining multiple layers of information, and making predictions based on the extensive datasets.

“Reviewing the diverse range of solutions that have come back from this process has been truly remarkable.”
Unearthed Industry Lead – Crowdsourcing, Holly Bridgwater, previously worked for a decade as a geologist in resource exploration and definition. She believes that crowdsourcing will transform the lengthy and intensive exploration process.

“We are extremely excited by the incredible range of solutions submitted by these pioneers that can generate high quality exploration targets in an efficient way,” Bridgwater said.

“Many industry professionals and mining companies are beginning to realise that their true competitive advantage in exploration is speed, not necessarily data or technological intellectual property. I think that the ability that the crowd gives you to generate new ideas, develop solutions, and automate processes, is something that can make a big difference and provide that competitive advantage.”

Filo del Sol copper-gold-silver blueprint includes autonomous haul truck fleet

Filo Mining has released the results of a prefeasibility study, carried out by Ausenco, on its Filo del Sol copper-gold-silver project on the borders of Chile and Argentina.

The PFS envisages average annual production of approximately 67,000 t of copper, 159,000 oz of gold, and 8.65 Moz of silver at a C1 cost of $1.23/lb ($2,712/t) copper-equivalent.

It also contemplates the use of an autonomous haul truck fleet, which allows the company to take advantage of the technology’s proven productivity improvements and operating cost savings, Filo Mining said.

Filo Mining is the second development-focused company in the past few months to make plans to incorporate autonomous haulage from the off. In November, NGEx Resources said it assumed its Josemaría project in Chile would use the latest in autonomous haul truck technologies.

The Filo del Sol study contemplates open-pit mining, with conventional drilling, blasting and loading performed on 12 m benches and is based off an initial probable reserve of 259 Mt at 0.39% Cu, 0.33 g/t Au and 15 g/t Ag.

Pre-production capital was pegged at $1.27 billion (excluding costs prior to a construction decision) and the company estimated a 14-year mine life with copper cathode, gold-silver doré and a high-grade copper precipitate produced. Filo said the post-tax net present value (8% discount) was $1.28 billion at copper, gold and silver prices of $3.00/lb, $1,300/oz and $20/oz, respectively.

Filo del Sol hosts a high-sulphidation epithermal copper-gold-silver deposit associated with a large porphyry copper-gold system. The project is in the Andes Mountains on the border of Chile and Argentina, approximately 140 km southeast of the city of Copiapó.

From the open pit, ore would be trucked to a conventional two-stage crusher, designed to process 60,000 t/d of ore. Crushed ore would be treated by sequential heap leaching, to extract copper and subsequently gold and silver from the ore followed by hydrometallurgical processing to produce copper cathodes and gold-silver doré. A portion of the barren leach solution, following zinc precipitation, would be treated to avoid a build-up of recirculating copper and cyanide through the gold circuit. This treatment is based on the SART process, which produces a copper sulphide precipitate (with grades of around 65% Cu) and recovers cyanide for use in the heap leach.

Groundwater for the process plant would be supplied from nearby aquifers to the plant site, and power would come from a 127 km of power line construction to connect to the Chilean national grid.

The PFS was prepared and managed by Ausenco Engineering Canada, with input from AGP Mining Consultants, BGC Engineering, Knight Piésold, Advantage Geoservices Limited, Merlin Geosciences and SRK Consulting.

SRK and SGS Bateman to run the feasibility numbers at GoviEx’s Madaouela uranium project

SRK Consulting and SGS Bateman have been awarded for their previous work for GoviEx Uranium, with the two set to carry out a feasibility study on the company’s ’s Madaouela uranium project in Niger.

The two companies were part of the team that completed the prefeasibility study and environmental permitting work on Madaouela, with GoviEx saying both have considerable experience in uranium and African project development.

Chairman Govind Friedland said: “We are excited to commence this next stage in the development of the Madaouela project. GoviEx has steadily and actively focused on value accretion for our projects while staying in tune with the state of the market; our appointment of SRK and SGS corresponds with a recovering uranium market price. GoviEx will continue to advance our projects with discretionary spending commensurate with improving market fundamentals.”

Further recovery and cost optimisation will be the focus of the feasibility study, GoviEx said.

The key highlights from the prefeasibility study were a mineral resource of 111 Mlb U3O8 in the measured and indicated categories, and 28 Mlb U3O8 in the inferred category, probable reserves of 60.54 Mlb U3O8, forecast uranium recovery of 93.7%, annual production of 2.69 Mlb U3O8 for 21 years at a cash cost of $24.49/Ib, and start-up capital expenditure of $359 million.

Since the publication of this study, the company has added 11.67 MIb U3O8 in the measured and indicated categories (of which 5.96 Mlb relates to the open-pit amenable Miriam deposit) and 9.35 Mlb U3O8 in the inferred category, plus developed a potential process design that could improve project economics (membrane separation).

The Madoauela project is around 10 km south of the town of Arlit and Orano Mining’s mining subsidiaries of Cominak and Somair, in north-central Niger. Deposits are hosted within sandstones of the Tim Mersoi Basin. The mine permit was approved in January 2016, with environmental approval gained in July 2015.