Tag Archives: zircon

Primero, Mineral Technologies enlisted for Strandline’s Coburn mineral sands project

Primero Group has been awarded preferred EPC status on a substantial contract with Strandline Resources on the Coburn mineral sands project in Western Australia.

The total volume of awarded engineering procurement and construction (EPC) works totals around A$150 million ($107 million), according to Primero, and follows an initial eight-week Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) process that provided further definition of the delivery strategy and project deliverables between the groups. It also coincided with the appointment of Mineral Technologies (MT), a global services provider and leader in the design and supply of mineral sands processing facilities (and a subsidiary of Downer Group), as the strategic technology partner alongside Primero for the project delivery.

Strandline said the contract involved the engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning and performance testing of the Wet Concentration Plant (WCP), Mineral Separation Plant (MSP) and associated processing circuits at the operation.

The Coburn WCP is designed to beneficiate the heavy minerals (ilmenite, leucoxene, rutile, zircon and monazite) and reject the non-valuable, lighter minerals through multiple stages of high capacity gravity separation and classification, according to Strandline. The rich heavy mineral concentrate produced from the WCP will be transported to the MSP and stockpiled ready for processing.

“The WCP infrastructure is relocatable and is planned to be moved several times during the mine life as the mine advances along the orebody,” Strandline said. “The MSP design comprises conventional electrostatic separation, gravity and magnetic fractionation to recover a range of premium-quality final products, including chloride ilmenite, rutile, premium zircon and zircon concentrate.”

The full project award is subject to Strandline Resources approving a Final Investment Decision in the coming months, Primero said. The ECI process came after Strandline’s recent A$18.5 million equity raising.

Primero Managing Director and CEO, Cameron Henry, said: “This award is an excellent example of Primero’s ECI phase in action and adds to our growing book of projects in preferred contractor status. We have worked intensively with Strandline over the past two months in designing a delivery solution that best meets the key project objectives and value drivers, while also minimising execution risks.”

Strandline has also already appointed Piacentini & Son to design and construct three mobile dozer mining units for the project, while Macmahon has been named as the principal contractor to provide site-wide civil and bulk earthworks construction services for the project.

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.

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).