Tag Archives: titanium

TNG and SMS to investigate hydrogen use for Mount Peake project

TNG Ltd is participating in a ground-breaking project with its German-based strategic engineering partner, SMS group, which could lead to the production of a carbon-neutral product from its Mount Peake vanadium-titanium-iron project in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Under the agreement, TNG will partner with SMS to develop technology to produce green hydrogen from various renewable, secondary or fossil hydrocarbon sources by means of plasma pyrolysis.

SMS, TNG says, is already advanced in its understanding of such technology and will manage all development activities and, specifically, apply the technology to TNG’s TIVAN® Process (plant layout above).

The TIVAN process, developed by the two companies and Perth, Australia-based metallurgical consultants METS and the CSIRO, has been primarily designed for hydro-metallurgical extraction of vanadium, preferably as vanadium pentoxide, from a titanomagnetite orebody and also for separating the titanium and iron, preferably as ferric oxide and titanium dioxide.

SMS is to provide a fully detailed development program in support of the specific resourcing required from both parties under the agreement, TNG says.

The plasma pyrolysis technology, which consumes roughly one-third of the electricity required to produce the same amount of hydrogen by electrolysis of water, could be the preferred reduction agent for TNG’s TIVAN Process, marking an important step in the company’s roadmap towards achieving a net zero carbon footprint for TIVAN, TNG said.

“The technology also has the potential to be applied for the production of hydrogen and syngas from various fossil, biogenic and waste materials, opening up additional potential business opportunities for TNG and SMS in the fast-growing space of the hydrogen and e-fuels economy, and outside the company’s proposed core titanium-vanadium-iron business,” it added.

A by-product of this process is anticipated to be highly-pure carbon black powder, which currently sells at approximately $1,000/t. Possibilities to produce graphene and/or carbon nanotubes from this powder will also be investigated in parallel by SMS.

Mount Peake is currently expected to process ore through a 2 Mt/y plant to produce 700,000 t/y of magnetite concentrate, which could then be turned into 100,000 t/y of titanium dioxide, 6,000 t/y of vanadium pentoxide and 500,000 t/y of iron oxide fines.

The agreement is not expected to impact the front-end engineering and design (FEED) study completion and delivery of the turnkey engineering, procurement and construction proposal from SMS.

TNG said: “The company’s primary focus remains on progression and completion of the remaining engineering and design work streams for the Mount Peake project, including the current FEED study. The hydrogen technology development program will be progressed in parallel, and, subject to confirmation of technical and commercial feasibility and integration with project development planning, has potential application for further optimisation of the Mount Peake project.”

TNG’s Managing Director & CEO, Paul Burton, said: “There is a huge amount of momentum globally moving towards a hydrogen-based economy, and this is an exciting opportunity for TNG while at the same time has the potential to move our TIVAN Process towards carbon-neutral which is important as we continue on our pathway to secure TNG’s position as a sustainable metals producer.

“We believe that being able to use a carbon-neutral product in our patented TIVAN process will be a further significant advantage to TNG in relation to other competing technologies used for the extraction of high-quality titanium, vanadium and iron products from titanomagnetite ores, sands and slags.”

SMS’ Senior Vice President of Strategic Project Development, Herbert Weissenbaeck, said: “From SMS’ perspective, the future of the metallurgical industry will rely on low-cost renewable electrical energy, as well as carbon-neutral means of energy transport and storage. Hydrogen, being a very efficient and carbon-free reduction agent, is thus obviously in the focus of many of our ongoing R&D efforts.

“Co-developing our plasma pyrolysis technology with TNG, which could reap immediate benefits in the form of effectively decarbonising TIVAN, is an exciting next step towards green, H2-based metallurgy, and we are looking forward to jointly turning it into industrial reality at TNG’s Darwin processing plant, soon.”

Kenmare, Mammoet begin WCP B relocation at Moma mineral sands mine

Kenmare Resources says the relocation of Wet Concentrator Plant (WCP) B at its Moma titanium minerals mine, in northern Mozambique, is underway.

Kenmare previously announced three development projects that together have the objective of increasing annual ilmenite production to 1.2 Mt (plus co-products) on a sustainable basis from 2021, with the move of WCP B to the high grade Pilivili ore zone is the final project.

The increased production is expected to significantly lower cash operating costs to between $125-$135/t (in 2020 real terms). Consequently, from 2021 the group expects to be positioned in the first quartile of the industry revenue to cost (or margin) curve, supporting stronger free cash flow generation and providing for increased shareholder returns, it said.

WCP B, consisting of a 1,700 t floating dredge and a 7,000 t WCP, is being moved 23 km from its previous mining area at Namalope to a new high-grade ore zone called Pilivili. It is being transported along a purpose-built road using platform vehicles called self-propelled modular transporters (SPMTs). The relocation of WCP B and its dredge are being undertaken by Mammoet.

Mining at Namalope completed in late August. The WCP and its associated dredge have now been successfully placed on the concrete plinths in the relocation pond and the pond has been dewatered. The dredge and the WCP are to be moved in two stages. The first stage involves the movement of the dredge – this is now underway and expected to be completed this week. Once the dredge has been relocated to Pilivili, the SPMTs will return to Namalope to transport the WCP along the same route. The physical relocation is expected to be completed in the next few weeks.

Michael Carvill, Managing Director of Kenmare, said: “The relocation of WCP B and its dredge form the third and final project of our development program to increase Moma’s ilmenite production to 1.2 Mt per annum on a sustainable basis. Once WCP B and the dredge reach Pilivili we will begin the process of re-establishing them in their new location and we expect mining to commence at Pilivili during Q4 (December quarter) 2020. I look forward to providing further updates as the project progresses.”

Rio Tinto bringing Richards Bay Minerals back online

Close to four weeks after deciding to curtail operations at its Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) operations in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Rio Tinto says it has started the process of resuming work at the zircon, rutile, iron and slag works.

The U-turn follows discussions led by the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Sihle Zikalala, involving all stakeholders focused on securing stability in order to address the issues in the community and provide the stable environment necessary for RBM to resume operations, Rio said.

Rio, which owns 74% of RBM, previously made the call to suspend work to ensure the safety and security of its employees due to an escalation in violence in the communities surrounding the operations.

In the December 4 announcement, it said: “There has been an escalation of criminal activity towards RBM employees and one was shot and seriously injured in the last few days. As a result, all mining operations at RBM have been halted and the smelters are operating at a reduced level, with a minimum number of employees now on site. Construction of the Zulti South project has also been temporarily paused.”

In its latest statement, the company said a phased restart is now in progress across the operation, with RBM expected to return to full operations in early January, leading to regular production in early 2020.

Having previously advised of a force majeure in supply following the suspension, Rio is now contacting customers to say this declaration has been lifted. The company said it would also review the restart of the Zulti South project after normalisation of operations at RBM.

The $463 million Zulti South project will sustain RBM’s current capacity and extend mine life. RBM currently operates four mines in the Zulti North lease area, a mineral separation plant and smelting complex. The Zulti South mine will underpin RBM’s supply of zircon and ilmenite over the life of mine, according to the company.

Bold Baatar, chief executive, Energy & Minerals, said: “The safety and security of our people is always our first priority and we are pleased that we will now be able to get back to work creating value for our people, our communities, South Africa and RBM’s shareholders.

“I would like to thank the Government of South Africa and the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal for their support and assistance in getting us to a position where we can restart operations at RBM. I would also acknowledge the work of community leaders and the police over the previous few weeks.”

Rio previously advised that titanium dioxide slag production for 2019 was expected to be at the bottom end of 2019 guidance of between 1.2-1.4 Mt.

Operations at Kenmare’s Moma mine heat up with Royal IHC, Pyromak order

Royal IHC and Pyromak, through a recently formed partnership, have received an order for two reheaters for Kenmare Resources’ Moma mineral sands mine, in Mozambique.

As part of the contract with Kenmare Moma Processing (Mauritius) Ltd, two indirect electric reheaters will operate at the Moma mine, located on the north-east coast of the country.

Royal IHC said the order was the result of the strong relationship between IHC and Kenmare, where IHC has recently delivered a third mining dredger for Kenmare, JULIA, to also operate at Moma.

The indirect electric reheaters allow for the uniformed reheating of products by suspending the material in a fluid-like state, according to IHC. The complete surface of the material is then exposed to the electric heating elements. The discharge temperature is measured and controlled by adjusting the voltage supplied to the electric elements.

“If no reheating is required, the control system switches off the power supply to the elements, but the fluidising fan continues to operate, allowing material to flow through the reheater,” it said. “The reheater can adjust to changes in feed and ambient conditions rapidly, and also reduces operational costs.”

IHC’s Australia based specialised business unit for the mineral sands and alluvial mining industry, IHC Robbins, and Pyromak signed a partnership to join forces to become a leading global service provider and supplier of fluidised bed drying (FBD) systems recently.

The design of IHC Robbins-Pyromak dryers, coolers and heaters is based on the fluidised bed principle. Material in a fluidised state behaves as a liquid, flowing over and under weirs, maintaining a level surface and exerting a hydrostatic head proportional to the bed depth.

Pyromak has over 35 years of experience in the product development, engineering design, installation and maintenance of fluid bed dryers and associated systems, IHC Robbins has global expertise in the resources industry (specialising in the heavy mineral sands sector). Their partnership offers a unique mix of experience and capability to deliver customised solutions, tailored to suit customers’ specific operational requirements.

Strandline, Woodside and EDL to work on ‘world-first’ power project for Coburn

Strandline Resources has selected Woodside and EDL to provide a fully integrated energy solution for its Coburn mineral sands project, in Western Australia.

The parties have signed a non-binding proposal for the development of a 27 MW integrated trucked LNG, storage and power station facility, comprising gas and diesel back-up generators combined with state-of-the-art solar and battery technology, it said.

The Woodside and EDL joint venture (WEJV) was formed to provide clean, reliable and affordable LNG to market, according to Strandline.

“This world-first trucked LNG to hybrid renewable microgrid project will see EDL bring its turnkey expertise to the project’s power station and LNG storage and re-gasification facilities, with LNG supplied from Woodside’s Pluto LNG truck loading facility near Karratha, Western Australia,” Strandline said.

It is expected that contract documentation, in the form of a 15-year power purchase agreement, will be finalised over the coming months in readiness for the commencement of construction, Strandline said.

The WEJV solution provides Strandline with a long-term safe, reliable and highly efficient energy solution for Coburn, according to the developer.

EDL was recently involved in the start up of phase one of a hybrid power project at Gold Fields’ Agnew gold mine, also in Western Australia (pictured).

Coburn, meanwhile, is a mineral sands deposit hosting “exceptional” zircon and titanium mineral sands products, Strandline says. The project benefits from being situated in the well-established mining jurisdiction of Western Australia, close to key road, port and services infrastructure.

The company recently completed a definitive feasibility study on Coburn, which showed the project could generate a pre-tax net present value of A$551 million ($377 million) using a US$:A$ of 0.72, an 8% discount rate, and development capital of A$207 million for the heavy mineral concentrate produce case, with an additional A$50 million required for the final products case (including mineral separation plant infrastructure).

Cementation and Nordmin get the honours at NioCorp’s Elk Creek project

NioCorp Developments says Cementation USA, part of the Cementation Americas Group, has been selected as the lead engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor for the underground aspects of the proposed Elk Creek Superalloy Material project in Nebraska, USA.

In addition, the company announced that it intends to engage The Nordmin Group of Companies to provide engineering services for the project.

Based in Sandy, Utah, Cementation is a mining- and minerals-focused group of companies, delivering both underground and surface solutions for mines and downstream minerals processing facilities worldwide.

Negotiations towards a formal EPC agreement between NioCorp and Cementation will be initiated in the near future, according to NioCorp.

“Cementation provides broad expertise in both mine construction and mine engineering, and has a solid track record in safely executing on mine development projects around the world,” Mark A Smith, CEO and Executive Chairman of NioCorp, said. “We look forward to working with their team to build one of the few greenfield underground mine developments in North America, and to a long and mutually beneficial relationship.”

The superalloy materials project in southeast Nebraska will produce niobium, scandium, and titanium: superalloys that make steel lighter and stronger, can, when combined with aluminium make alloys with increased strength and improved corrosion resistance, and is a key component of pigments used in paper, paint and plastics, respectively.

Cementation’s Robert Gripper, EVP Contracting, USA, said: “It’s encouraging to see an owner embrace the EPC approach. We understand that mine owners are looking for engineering that adds value through the use of best practices and accounts for constructability and operability, and a construction team that is aligned with the engineer and owner. Such an approach lends itself to this.”

Nordmin, meanwhile, has demonstrated its expertise in designing an improved mine plan for the project, along with an innovative interpretation of the geologic resource and a sound plan for managing bedrock groundwater associated with the mine, according to NioCorp.

NioCorp said: “The company anticipates that any significant additional work on the project by Nordmin will be contingent on obtaining additional project financing, if and when available.”

TNG signs up Genesee & Wyoming Australia for Mount Peake freight job

TNG Ltd says it has entered into a binding heads of agreement (HoA) with Genesee & Wyoming Australia (GWA), the third-largest rail operator in Australia, for the provision of rail haulage services for its flagship, 100%-owned Mount Peake vanadium-titanium-iron project, in the Northern Territory.

Genesee & Wyoming is a global railroad owner and operator with extensive experience in the transport of bulk commodities for the resources industry, and is the majority owner of the rail line to Darwin that runs approximately 1,100 km from the Mount Peake mine site, according to TNG.

Rail haulage will underpin the logistics chain transporting the magnetite concentrate to be produced by the proposed beneficiation plant at the Mount Peake mine site to the proposed TIVAN® processing facility in Darwin, where TNG intends to produce high-purity vanadium pentoxide, titanium pigment and iron ore fines.

The scope of services includes the loading of magnetite concentrate onto rail at the Adnera rail siding (proposed to be located 85 km from the mine site), rail haulage from Adnera to the TIVAN facility, in Darwin, on the Tarcoola-to-Darwin rail line, and the unloading of magnetite concentrate at the TIVAN facility.

GWA will also load and transport TNG’s final products from the TIVAN facility to the Darwin Port, providing all necessary rail transport plant and equipment, including locomotives, wagons, crew vans and fuelling equipment.

“Following execution of the HoA, TNG and GWA will work together on an exclusive basis, and commit the necessary resources, to develop an optimised rail haulage strategy for Mount Peake, and negotiate and finalise a rail haulage agreement,” TNG said.

TNG’s Managing Director and CEO, Paul Burton, said: “GWA’s presence and expertise in logistics and transportation further strengthens TNG’s global network of high-quality partners assigned for the development and operation of Mount Peake.” This includes the likes of McMahon Services and SMS Group.

An updated definitive feasibility study on Mount Peake from 2017 envisaged pre-production capex of A$853 million ($617 million) for a 3 Mt/y project ramping up to 6 Mt/y in year five. This would see 24.3 Mt of magnetic concentrate turned into 10.6 Mt iron oxide and 243,000 t of vanadium oxide.

Kenmare pushes ahead with Wet Concentrator Plant relocation at Moma

Kenmare Resources’s board is backing a plan to relocate its Wet Concentrator Plant (WCP) B to the Pilivili ore zone at its Moma titanium minerals mine, in northern Mozambique, after a definitive feasibility study (DFS) indicated the move could deliver an additional 130,000 t/y of heavy mineral concentrate (HMC) from 2021.

The DFS, completed by Hatch Africa, confirmed the technical and economic feasibility of relocating WCP B to Pilivili, following the completion of the existing mining path at Namalope in the September quarter of 2020, Kenmare said.

The WCP B relocation is the last of three internal growth projects required to increase production to 1.2 Mt/y of ilmenite (plus co-products of zircon and rutile), according to the company.

WCP B and its dredge will be relocated by specialist heavy lifting and transport contractors on a purpose-built road from Namalope to Pilivili, according to Kenmare. The company’s updated investor presentation displayed a graphic of self-propelled modular transporters provided by Mammoet.

The key additional infrastructure required to commence production from Pilivili includes a HMC pumping system and power infrastructure, in addition to a 23 km purpose-built road.

The contractor will use self-propelled modular transporters to transport WCP B out of its mining pond at Namalope, along a road, including a causeway estuary crossing into the new mining pond at Pilivili. This is the same type of equipment that was used to transport the recently completed WCP C dredge in the Netherlands, Kenmare said.

The company posted a video of a simulated move here, which featured equipment from Mammoet.

The relocation and re-establishment of WCP B is expected to commence in the September quarter of 2020 for a period of up to 12 weeks, with the commissioning of WCP B at Pilivili anticipated in the December quarter of that year. During this 12-week period, production from WCP B is expected to be suspended.

“Additional mining areas have been identified for WCP B at Namalope to ensure that production is maintained, in the event of delays to the project execution schedule,” Kenmare said.

The Pilivili ore zone has the highest grades within Moma’s portfolio, with mineral reserves of 220 Mt averaging 4.4% total heavy mineral (THM). The life of mine average grade mined by WCP B at Pilivili is expected to be 4.6% THM and in the first four years of production the average grade mined is expected to be 5.3% THM. Due to these higher grades, production from Pilivili is expected to increase overall HMC production by an average of 130,000 t/y, contributing to a total of 1.2 Mt/y of ilmenite production (plus co-products) from 2021.

Additionally, Pilivili’s mineral reserves have higher zircon and rutile co-product credits than Namalope (with 0.25% zircon and 0.08% rutile in ore), which are expected to contribute to lower cash operating costs per tonne of ilmenite.

The total capital cost estimate for the relocation is $106 million, including $15 million contingency, which Kenmare expects to fund from its balance sheet and internally generated cash flow.

The most significant infrastructure requirement for the relocation of WCP B is the construction of the purpose-built road for the transportation of WCP B and its dredge. The road will be 23 km in length and 66 m wide, and construction is expected to take approximately eight months from the September quarter. HMC produced at Pilivili will be transported to the MSP using a 16 km overland pipeline and positive displacement pumping system. Electrical power at Pilivili will be provided by a new 16 km 110 kV power line adjacent to the purpose-built road, supported by a static synchronous compensator to improve reliability.

Kenmare received approval of the Environmental, Social and Health Impact Assessment (ESHIA) ESHIA for Pilivili from the Ministry of Land, Environment and Rural Development in Mozambique in May 2019, in line with the project delivery timeline. The company expects the ESHIA for the purpose-built road to be approved in the September quarter.

The contractor will use self-propelled modular transporters (“SPMTs”) to transport WCP B out of its mining pond at Namalope, along a purpose-built road, including a causeway estuary crossing into the new mining pond at Pilivili. This is the same method that was used to transport the recently completed WCP C dredge in the Netherlands.

McMahon welcomed to TNG Mount Peake vanadium-titanium-iron team

TNG has engaged construction group McMahon Services to progress the program of work for the non-process infrastructure (NPI) requirements for its flagship 100%-owned Mount Peake vanadium-titanium-iron project, in the Northern Territory of Australia.

The contract encompasses the NPI at both the Mount Peake mine site, located 235 km north of Alice Springs, and the Darwin TIVAN® processing facility, and will be undertaken in parallel with the front-end engineering and design study for the project being progressed by SMS group.

The NPI requirements for the project include but are not limited to haul roads, airfield upgrades, concentrate handling infrastructure, water and power infrastructure, accommodation facilities and concentrate storage facilities, TNG said.

As part of its engagement, McMahon will advance the existing NPI planning developed by TNG and finalise detailed scopes of work and scheduling for the NPI across both sites. MCM will then work collaboratively with TNG to develop the tendering documents and implement the strategy and delivery framework for the NPI works packages.

“This will extend to any approvals, capital budgeting and detailed project scheduling, enabling progression into the detailed design and ultimately construction phases with selected contractors, in a manner consistent with TNG’s project execution strategy,” TNG said.

TNG’s Managing Director and CEO, Paul Burton, said: “We have been able to establish a global network of high-quality partners in the fields of engineering, project financing and product off-take to help us advance this world-class project towards financing and construction. We are delighted to add McMahon Services – a high calibre Australian contractor with an existing strong footprint in the Northern Territory – to our project development team.”

An updated definitive feasibility study on Mount Peake from 2017 envisaged pre-production capex of A$853 million ($617 million) for a 3 Mt/y project ramping up to 6 Mt/y in year five. This would see 24.3 Mt of magnetic concentrate turned into 10.6 Mt iron oxide and 243,000 t of vanadium oxide.

TNG “de-risks” Mount Peake vanadium-titanium-iron project with SMS contract

TNG has signed up SMS Group to carry out the front-end engineering and design (FEED) phase of its Mount Peake vanadium-titanium-iron project in the Northern Territory of Australia.

The mandate for the contract encompasses the Mount Peake concentrator, the TIVAN® processing plant and all associated plant and equipment.

The two companies have been working together on the TIVAN process for some time. The process, developed by the two companies and Perth, Australia-based metallurgical consultants METS and the CSIRO, has been primarily designed for hydro-metallurgical extraction of vanadium, preferably as vanadium pentoxide, from a titano-magnetite orebody and also for separating the titanium and iron, preferably as ferric oxide and titanium dioxide.

The process has undergone more than six years of development including several successful pilot plant test stages, and is designed to use conventional and existing equipment currently used in extractive resources, TNG says.

In addition to the FEED contract for the process, plant and equipment, SMS’ scope will include providing a proposal for full procurement and construction, including the balance of plant and equipment to be provided on a turnkey, single-source, fixed price EPC basis.

Under the contract, SMS will now design and engineer the entire processing flowsheet for Mount Peake, which includes the concentrator, where magnetite concentrate is to be produced, and the downstream processing plant, where three high-purity products – vanadium pentoxide, titanium dioxide and iron oxide – will be produced.

Interestingly, SMS has agreed to provide to TNG production quantity, production rate and production quality guarantees, elements TNG Managing Director Paul Burton (pictured, left) said would significantly “de-risk” the project.

SMS’s responsible Managing Director Herbert Weissenbaeck (pictured, right) said the agreement was the logical next step in the development of TIVAN and Mount Peake – “which together have the potential to essentially disrupt the TiO2 pigment and vanadium space”.

The downstream processing plant will use TNG’s 100%-owned TIVAN process. The scope of work for the plant will include a titanium pigment plant – to be developed in collaboration with its nominated sub-contractor Ti-Cons.

An updated definitive feasibility study on Mount Peake from 2017 envisaged pre-production capex of A$853 million ($617 million) for a 3 Mt/y project ramping up to 6 Mt/y in year five. This would see 24.3 Mt of magnetic concentrate turned into 10.6 Mt iron oxide and 243,000 t of vanadium oxide.