Tag Archives: titanium

TNG enlists Metso Outotec’s H2-based Circored process for Mount Peake concentrate plans

TNG Limited, an Australia-based resources company, has awarded Metso Outotec a study looking at reducing Mount Peake Ti-V magnetite concentrate using Circored™ technology, which uses hydrogen as its only reductant source.

As part of the study, Metso Outotec will perform a techno-economic assessment to integrate Circored technology into TNG’s TIVAN® process that provides for the extraction of high-quality products from Ti-V magnetite orebodies.

Metso Outotec has been granted this assignment following positive test work performed for TNG, which confirmed the applicability of hydrogen-based reduction for Mount Peake Ti-V magnetite concentrate.

The test work program, which was a precursor to a more detailed commercial and technical evaluation, was a success, TNG says, delivering the following results:

  • Achieved iron metallisation targets across a range of testwork parameters;
  • Demonstrated the viability of processing Mount Peake titanomagnetite concentrate with Metso Outotec’s Circored technology; and
  • Generated samples for downstream validation testwork.

Now, Metso Outotec will further define the process flowsheet for the Mount Peake project and prepare a preliminary capital cost and operating cost (+/-30%) for a Circored Plant.

The use of hydrogen is a key part of the TNG’s medium-to-longer-term strategy to reduce its net carbon footprint from processing operations at the Mount Peake project.

TNG Managing Director & CEO, Paul Burton, said the Metso Outotec study also complements its existing partnership with SMS group, which TNG has a strategic partnership with, to investigate green hydrogen production at Mount Peake.

Located 235 km north of Alice Springs, in the Northern Territory of Australia, Mount Peake will be a long-life project producing a suite of high-quality, high-purity strategic products for global markets including vanadium pentoxide, titanium dioxide pigment and iron ore fines, accordiing to TNG. The project has received Major Project Status from the Australian Federal Government and the Northern Territory Government.

Circored, part of Metso Outotec’s Planet Positive portfolio, is a process that uses hydrogen as the sole reducing agent in the reduction of fine ores, enabling carbon neutrality for metal processing plants.

Clough works up integrated design layout for TNG’s Mount Peake project

TNG Ltd says an integrated design layout for its flagship Mount Peake vanadium-titanium-iron project in the Northern Territory of Australia has been developed and delivered by Australian engineering and construction company, Clough Projects Australia Pty Ltd.

As announced in October, TNG appointed Clough to work with its project team and SMS group for Mount Peake following a strategic decision to progress a fully-integrated operation at the Mount Peake mine site and given the severe restrictions on travel between Europe and Australia due to the COVID-19 pandemic that have impacted SMS’ ability to deliver a team in Australia.

Clough, together with TNG’s project team, has developed the integrated layout on the basis of the deliverables prepared under the front-end engineering and design study completed by SMS. The layout comprises the beneficiation plant, TIVAN® processing facility and plant utilities located within the mining lease footprint of Mount Peake site.

The integrated plants will be positioned adjacent to the western boundary of the designated mining areas within the company’s existing Mining Lease 29855, which covers an area of 1,460 ha. This area is capable of hosting a fully-integrated operation encompassing mining activities and waste storage, the beneficiation plant, the TIVAN processing facility and non-process infrastructure.

The integrated layout will be “unconstrained” compared with the size and shape requirements at the former Darwin site, TNG said. This offers the potential to capitalise on improving constructability, operability and maintenance for the project, as well as further cost optimisations from integrated infrastructure.

TNG has now commissioned Clough to progress value engineering to optimise outcomes in cost/schedule; and design aspects incorporating, civil, structural and architectural, mechanical, piping, electrical and instrumentation engineering disciplines, logistics and non-process infrastructure.

Clough will work with TNG’s project team and have support from SMS to undertake this next engineering and design stage and deliver an updated capital cost estimate for the development of Mount Peake, with this stage expected to be completed by May 2022.

TNG’s Managing Director and CEO, Paul Burton, said: “The completion of this design paves the way for value engineering and final design work to commence, which in turn will underpin an updated capital cost estimate and pave the way for project finance completion.”

Clough’s CEO and Managing Director, Peter Bennett, added: “We are excited with our ongoing collaboration with TNG on their Mount Peake project as we develop sustainable solutions for the resources sector in Australia. We are proud of our role and long history of delivering world-class engineering and construction projects and critical infrastructure both in Australia and overseas.”

Located 235 km north of Alice Springs, Mount Peake is expected to be a long-life project producing a suite of high-quality, high-purity strategic products for global markets including vanadium pentoxide, titanium dioxide pigment and iron ore fines. The project, which is expected to be a top-10 global producer, has received Major Project Status from the Northern Territory and Federal Governments.

TNG brings Clough into Mount Peake Peake vanadium-titanium-iron project fold

TNG Ltd has appointed a subsidiary of engineering and construction company, Clough, to work with TNG’s project development team and the SMS Group on its flagship Mount Peake vanadium-titanium-iron project in the Northern Territory of Australia.

TNG announced in September that it had decided to progress development of the project with a fully-integrated mining and processing operation within its existing mining leases. As part of this strategy, it was considered by the TNG team important to have a suitable Australian-based engineering group on board.

Following a tender process, Clough Projects Australia Pty Ltd was selected to work with TNG’s team to initially develop an optimised plant layout for the integration of the TIVAN® processing facility (TPF) and beneficiation plant at the mine site, on the basis of the deliverables prepared under the front-end engineering and design (FEED) study completed by SMS group.

Clough, TNG says, will work with SMS and TNG’s team given the severe restrictions on travel between Europe and Australia due to the COVID-19 pandemic that have impacted SMS’ ability to deliver a team in Australia.

TNG previously engaged Clough to assess the definitive feasibility study for the project and this new contract expands on this early work to progress the overall mine development, it says.

The optimised layout will be unconstrained compared with the size and shape requirements at the former Darwin site. This offers the potential to capitalise on improving constructability, operability and maintenance for the project, as well as further cost optimisations from integrated infrastructure, the company says.

The integrated plants will be positioned within the company’s existing Mining Lease 29855, which has a size of 1,460 ha. This area is capable of hosting a fully-integrated operation encompassing mining activities and waste storage, the beneficiation plant, the TPF and non-process infrastructure, according to TNG.

TNG’s Managing Director & CEO, Paul Burton, said: “From a strategic and logistical perspective given the continued global COVID-19-related travel restrictions, it is an advantage to have a locally-based engineering group working on this phase of the Mount Peake project with TNG and SMS.

“We expect the integrated plant layout will pave the way for further optimisation work that will tie back into the recently completed FEED study. These work programs are already underway. We look forward to working closely with Clough and our other engineering partners to rapidly advance the Mount Peake project.”

Located 235 km north of Alice Springs, Mount Peake is expected to be a long-life project producing a suite of high-quality, high-purity strategic products for global markets including vanadium pentoxide, titanium dioxide pigment and iron ore fines. The project, which is expected to be a top-10 global producer, has received Major Project Status from the Northern Territory and Federal Governments.

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.