Tag Archives: Stantec

Foran Mining assembles FS team for ‘world first’ carbon neutral copper mine project

Foran Mining says it has bolstered the design team for its ongoing definitive feasibility study at the McIlvenna Bay project, in Saskatchewan, Canada, providing the company with the technical expertise to execute on its strategy of building the world’s first copper mine designed to be “carbon neutral” from day one of production.

The advisors are anticipated to employ a range of technologies and initiatives in the design of the mine and processing facilities to materially reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the environmental impact of the operations.

Foran says its due diligence to date has highlighted the potentially superior returns achievable through implementing this strategy, while the use of battery-electric vehicles will also be safer for employees, reducing risk of injury and physical stressors, such as vibration and noise.

The FS team includes experts from:

  • Stantec – mine design and engineering;
  • Knight Piésold Ltd – tailings storage facility design;
  • Halyard Inc – process plant design;
  • Micon International Limited – resource estimate;
  • Base Metallurgical Laboratories Ltd – metallurgical testing;
  • Canada North Environmental Services Ltd – environmental; and
  • Synergy Enterprises – sustainability and carbon accounting

Dan Myerson, Executive Chair of Foran, said: “The appointment of these world-class environmental and engineering specialists reflects our ambition to develop a technically and economically compelling solution to the environmental and social challenges which have been traditionally associated with the sector. We are therefore thrilled that professionals of this calibre have agreed to support us on this journey.”

He added: “Together, we intend to ensure that our operations emit net zero greenhouse gases and set new safety benchmarks for the industry, while also ensuring that the local community and the broader Canadian population benefit from our operations. The responsible production of copper and zinc is critical as the world transitions to a low carbon future; these metals are used in the production of renewable energy assets and electronic industries, for example. We look forward to providing more updates, in relation to our infill and expansion drilling, as well as announcing more detailed plans about how we will be putting our ambitions into practice.”

The 2020 prefeasibility study on McIlvenna Bay envisaged a 3,600 t/d underground operation with on‐site crushing and mineral processing facilities, a paste plant and filtered tailings storage facility. It considered a nine-year life of mine and scheduled treatment of the full reserve of 11.34 Mt grading 4.01% Zn, 1.14% Cu, 0.54 g/t Au and 20.97 g/t Ag. It also included plans for McIlvenna Bay to be an early adopter of battery-electric haul trucks.

Foran recently commenced its largest drill program ever (pictured), with over 30,000 m of infill and expansion drilling in the deposit. This has been designed to maximise the conversion of the current inferred resource to the indicated resource category, which can then be interrogated for inclusion in the updated reserve statement.

Foran says the feasibility study will, among other things, look to:

  • Further optimise and detail the McIlvenna Bay project engineering, including the estimation of reserves, mine design, stope sequence, development and production schedules;
  • Refine power and equipment requirements to support the company’s commitment to carbon neutral operations;
  • Update and detail the design and feasibility of the tailings desulphurisation process, dry stack storage facility and cemented paste backfill processes;
  • Provide detailed construction scheduling, including optimisations that would arise from pre-fabrication and/or modular (off-site) construction to the greatest extent possible;
  • Identify further mine optimisation to increase productivity and reduce operational expenditures; and
  • Consider equipment usage and activities where greenhouse gas emissions can be eliminated, reduced or offset to ensure that McIlvenna Bay is a carbon neutral operation.

NexGen marries ESG and financials in Arrow uranium project feasibility study

NexGen Energy CEO, Leigh Curyer, says the company’s Rook I uranium project has earnt its place as one of the “leading global resource projects with an elite ESG profile” after the publication of feasibility study results on the project’s Arrow deposit in the Athabasca Basin of Saskatchewan, Canada.

The study was completed jointly by consultants including Stantec, Wood and Roscoe Postle Associates (now part of SLR Consulting), with other technical inputs completed by sub-consultants.

Financial highlights from this study included an initial capital bill of C$1.3 billion ($1.03 billion) repaid with a post-tax net present value (8% discount) of C$3.47 billion based on a $50/Ib uranium price. From years 1-5 average annual production was due to come in at 28.8Mlb of uranium oxide, with average production over the life of mine of 10.7 years of 21.7 MIb/y.
The company laid out plans for a 1,300 t/d mill processing an average feed grade of 2.37% U3O8.

Listed within the “top five feasibility study outcomes” was enhanced environmental performance, with NexGen saying an optimised facilities layout had reduced the project footprint by around 20% and lowered on-site personnel transportation and ore haulage.

Optimised shaft sizing, water usage through advanced water recycling, and plant engineering reflected elite environmental standards, it added.

“With respect to the proposed shaft, mine workings and underground tailings management facility (UGTMF) locations, geotechnical and hydrogeological testing validated highly competent rock with no significant alteration, no major structures, and low hydraulic conductivity,” the company said.

The mine plan at Arrow was based on conventional long-hole stoping using the 239.6 MIb of declared reserves, the company said.

“Geotechnical studies during the feasibility study re-emphasised the conventional long-hole stoping mining method, including the use of longitudinal and transverse stopes, 30 m level spacing, and the nominal stope strike length of 12 m to 24 m,” it said. “This represents an excellent stope stability range for underground mining in the highly competent conditions.”

Given the competency and conditions of the underground environment, all waste streams from the process plant are planned to be stored underground in the UGTMF, while process water streams will be treated on surface in the optimised effluent treatment plant, NexGen said.

The underground workings will be accessed by two shafts, with the production shaft supporting personnel movements, materials, ore, waste and fresh air. The production shaft was increased to 8 m in diameter (from 6.5 m in diameter in the prefeasibility study (PFS)) to optimise radiation and ventilation management, ensuring the mine is elite from a safety perspective, the company said.

“Additionally, the production shaft will have divided compartments, ensuring that fresh air and personnel entering the mine, remain isolated from ore being skipped to surface,” it added.

The exhaust shaft was ultimately decreased to 5.5 m in diameter (from 6.5 m in diameter in the PFS) and will be used for exhaust air and emergency secondary egress, NexGen said.

Like some other projects in the region, shaft freezing will be required to a point to secure the underground project, NexGen confirmed.

In terms of processing, NexGen said extensive test work and engineering had determined that proven technology in a conventional uranium processing flowsheet is most effective to produce uranium oxide from the Arrow deposit.

The main components of the processing plant are ore sorting; grinding; leaching; liquid-solid separation via counter current decantation and clarification; solvent extraction; gypsum precipitation and washing; yellowcake precipitation and washing; yellowcake drying; calcining and packaging; and tailings preparation and paste tailings plant.

Metallurgical testing resulted in supporting and refining process design parameters, with the process recovery of 97.6% confirming the predictable nature of the processing flow sheet, it said.

“The feasibility study also confirmed that all processed waste streams can be stored in the UGTMF and no surface tailings facility is required,” NexGen said. “The UGTMF is a reflection of NexGen’s industry-leading environmental design approach, contributing to the significant reduction of the project’s surface footprint, and representing an opportunity to implement best practice of progressive closure of tailings facilities during the operational phase of the mine.”

A feasibility study drill program validated the geotechnical conditions and favourable conditions for the UGTMF, with the study also optimising the geotechnical design, size and sequencing of the UGTMF included in the mine plan.

The study test work demonstrated paste fill strength met or exceeded all requirements set in the feasibility study design for a potential paste-backfill to be used for underground stope stability.

In terms of the timeline to production, NexGen said it planned to submit its Environmental Impact Statement in the second half of this year, along with relevant licences.

Generation Mining readies more ‘aggressive’ Marathon PGM-copper project approach

Generation Mining says it is making headway on the development plan for its Marathon palladium-copper project, in north-western Ontario, Canada, having contracted all the major engineering companies for the study.

The study is expected to take around seven to eight months to conclude, with completion expected in early 2021, it said.

G-Mining Services will carry out the mine plan and mineral reserves, infrastructure scope of work and integration of the costs and economic analysis; Ausenco Engineering Canada is progressing the process facility layout and design based on the metallurgical testing that is currently underway at SGS-Lakefield; and Knight-Piesold is to design the tailings facility and open-pit geotechnical engineering. In support of the feasibility study and environment impact interactions, Stantec and Ecometrix P&E Mining Consultants will be responsible for the mineral resource estimate, the company said.

Jamie Levy, President and Chief Executive Officer of Generation Mining, said: “It is a very impressive team that we have assembled for the feasibility study. I am confident that these firms will optimise the value of the Marathon-PGM property and will continue to de-risk the project.

“Our goal is to maximise the net present value of the project while designing an operation which will minimise environmental impacts and provide economic benefits to the local communities. We see the Marathon project being near shovel-ready and well timed to the buoyant palladium market.”

Generation Mining acquired a 51% interest in the Marathon property from Sibanye Stillwater on July 10, 2019, and can increase its interest to 80% by spending $10 million over a period of four years. As of the March quarter, around $4 million of the $10 million has already been spent.

A preliminary economic assessment on Marathon published earlier this year outlined a 14,000 t/d open-pit operation growing to 22,000 t/d after expansion, with an average palladium output of 107,000 oz/y for 14 years. The open-pit mining would be owner-operated using conventional diesel equipment consisting of 254 mm diameter rotary drills on 10 m high benches, 29 cu.m bucket hydraulic excavators, and 221 t off-highway haul trucks and auxiliary equipment, according to the study.

On the feasibility study, Generation Mining said all groups were “integrating well” through good interactions and frequent communications.

“G-Mining will progress pit designs and sequencing that will prioritise the high-grade palladium values for initial production to bring increased palladium production into the first half of the mine life, and increase copper production in the mine’s later years,” the company said.

“Ausenco’s plant design is expected to update the quality work that was done in prior studies with newer technology, which, in turn, will improve concentrator operability and lower capital costs, while increasing palladium recovery without sacrificing copper recovery. This flowsheet is expected to be validated with the current metallurgical test work that is progressing at SGS-Lakefield.

“Knight-Piesold will be updating the past tailings dam designs to reflect current best available practices and technologies.”

Stantec and Ecometrix are involved in the feasibility study team to help facilitate the update of the Environment Impact Study report addendum and to help inform the critical path regulatory approvals process, the company added.

At this early stage, the work on the feasibility study will consider an optimised processing and mine production rate that is “more aggressive” than outlined in the PEA, the company said, contemplating starting at 5 Mt/y and expanding to 8 Mt/y after five years.

Stantec sizing up sites for Medallion’s US rare earth element extraction plant

Medallion Resources says it has engaged international engineering group Stantec to evaluate sites in the US for its planned rare earth element (REE) extraction plant.

The plant, which will use feedstock sourced from the southeast US, will leverage Medallion’s proprietary hydrometallurgical process to extract a REE concentrate from by-product monazite sand in a clean, safe, and automated fashion.

Medallion, after many years of test work and development, recently completed the design of this process.

Key features of the enhanced “caustic crack” REE extraction process include:

  • Full automation for low manpower requirements and worker isolation from harsh operating environments (chemical, thermal and radiological) for enhanced safety;
  • Highly-energy efficient design;
  • Option for a zero liquid discharge plant to provide additional flexibility on planning/permitting;
  • Waste production options; and
  • Employment of only “off-the-shelf” equipment — with innovations on their application.

The process design was led by Medallion’s Metallurgist Kurt Forrester, with the developmental test work performed at the Saskatchewan Research Council’s Mineral and Metallurgy Division, in addition to using input from thermodynamic model analysis and solubility testing development at the University of Toronto’s Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry Department. The test monazite feedstock was provided by a heavy-mineral sands (HMS) producer in the southeast US.

The plant’s output will be rich in  and praseodymium (or NdPr), the critical input to the rare-earth permanent magnets that power the lightweight and powerful motors required in electric vehicles (EVs), defence applications, and numerous clean technologies, according to the company.

Don Lay, President & CEO of Medallion, said: “Based on recent announcements from the US Department of Defense on funding programs for rare-earth separation and magnet stockpiling as well as automakers’ desires for non-Chinese sources of NdPr, we’re taking this important step toward production.”

The proposed US-based REE plant has a small footprint and capital costs that are a fraction of the traditional REE mining and processing facilities, according to Medallion. “This provides a quick pathway to production of rare-earth products for domestic markets,” the company said.

The company said its plant location will be a “modern chemical processing setting with top-tier environmental standards and employ highly trained technicians”. The evaluation also covers both upstream and downstream logistics options related to the transport of monazite feedstock, reagents, produced concentrates and waste material.

Medallion plans to extract REEs from monazite tailing streams, which are a by-product of the HMS industry, with sources in the US, South America, Africa, Australia, and Southeast Asia.

“Medallion has established relationships with many HMS firms to coordinate upgrading potential, volumes and timing of available material,” it said.

Ausenco to run with Marathon at Valentine gold project

Marathon Gold has appointed Ausenco Engineering Canada as the lead consultant for the prefeasibility study (PFS) on the Valentine gold project in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.

As lead consultant in the PFS, Ausenco will undertake a tradeoff study designed to assess the optimum scope, value, and execution strategy for the project, and will incorporate an updated production schedule, facilities design, operating and capital cost estimates, and process design based on ongoing metallurgical studies.

Ausenco will be assisted by Moose Mountain Technical Services in the areas of mineral reserve estimation and mine design. The PFS will also incorporate the results of work currently being conducted at the Valentine project by Terrane Geoscience Inc in the area of geotechnical drilling and pit slope design, by Gemtec for hydrogeology, by Stantec for environmental assessment, and John T Boyd Company for an updated mineral resource estimate.

An October 2018 preliminary economic assessment on Marathon showed the project to be amenable to open pit mining and conventional milling over a 12-year mine life. Average annual production was pegged at 225,100 oz at an all-in sustaining cost of $666/oz. Total mineral resources currently comprise 16.6 Mt of material at a grade of 2.18 g/t containing 1.17 Moz gold in the measured category, 28.5 Mt at 1.66 g/t containing 1.52 Moz of gold in the indicated category, and 26.9 Mt at 1.77 g/t containing 1.53 Moz of gold in the inferred category.

Matt Manson, Marathon President and CEO, said of the news: “Ausenco’s Canadian based engineering team has a broad range of mine development expertise well suited to the Valentine gold project. In particular, they bring the most recent direct experience in the development of a large open-pit gold project in the Maritimes as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor at the successful Moose River gold mine (pictured) developed by Atlantic Gold Corp (now St Barbara Ltd).

“They will join an existing team of specialised sub-contractors already working with Marathon’s owner’s team to develop the best overall project configuration for subsequent feasibility study, permitting and financing.”

The PFS is expected to take around six months to complete, with results expected early in the June quarter of 2020.