Mineral Commodities Limited’s (ASX:MRC) 50% owned subsidiary, Mineral Sands Resources (Pty) Ltd (MSR), has completed on-water commissioning of its upgraded plant and commenced processing Inland Strands ore in South Africa.
The primary concentrator plant is performing to expectations with throughputs close to design and the tailings dewatering system components are performing well, with the dewatering screen effectively minimizing the moisture content of the coarse (sand) tails and the thickener/flocculant system reducing the moisture content of the fines (slimes).
Together, the tailings system lowers the water content to the tails to levels below those in the Section 102 approvals. Commissioning of a filter to further reduce the moisture content of the thickened slimes has also commenced, with initial tests producing a visibly dry cake.
The key focus area at present is optimizing performance. Switchover to 24 hours per day operations on Inland Strands ore is expected next week, stopping production from the Tormin Beaches, allowing them to start to replenish which it is anticipated will lead to improved beach mined grades into the future.
Inland Strands production substitutes some annual beach mining. There are currently two Primary Concentration Plants (PCPs) at site, each having a targeted production rate of 1.5Mtpa of beach material or 1.2Mtpa of Inland Strand material after recent plant upgrades. PCP-1 will process Inland Strands material and PCP-2 will currently process Northern Beaches mined material. This plant upgrade is targeted to increase ore processing at Tormin from 2.4Mtpa to 2.7Mtpa.
The third PCP (PCP-3) is also aimed for Inland Strands material, targeting a further increase in ore processing from 2.7Mtpa to 3.9Mtpa. The third PCP is aimed to be in production by December quarter 2023.
The production schedule enables sustainable beach mining, with beach mining now able to be rotated annually between Tormin Beaches and Northern Beaches production. It is expected that this will result in more sustainable beach mining grades, with each placer beach deposit being given replenishment time of 12 out of every 24 months, complemented by PCP-1 processing Inland Strands ore. Please refer to the Company’s quarterly report for the quarter ended 31 December 2022 for further information.
“We are very pleased to recommence Inland Strands ore processing with an effective tailings management solution. I would like to commend the MSR commissioning team for their stellar efforts to date and the rapid transition from water commissioning to ore commissioning,” Interim CEO, Adam Bick, said.
“I am sure the whole site team is looking forward to transitioning to continuous Inland Strands ore processing operations, benefiting from the higher grades and allowing the beaches to transition to a sustainable mining method with replenishment every 12 of 24 months.
“We look forward to providing further updates on Inland Strands ore processing, which is the cornerstone of MRC’s Heavy Minerals Division’s Objectives.”
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