Sierra Rutile Holdings Limited (ASX: SRX) has confirmed commencement of the Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) for the proposed development of its 100% owned Sembehun project in Sierra Leone.
Sembehun is located in Sierra Leone in close proximity to the company’s existing mining operations, and is one of the largest and highest grade natural rutile deposits in the world.
The Preliminary Feasibility Study in relation to Sembehun contemplated mining the rutile, ilmenite and zircon mineral sands hosted within the five deposits in Mine Lease Area 5 (MLA 5), i.e. (Kamatipa, Komende, Benduma, Dodo, and Kibi).
Expansion into MLA 5 would contribute approximately 13.6 million tonnes (Mt) of ore per annum and expand Sierra Rutile’s operating Life of Mine (LOM) by approximately 13 years.
The DFS is expected to take approximately 12 months to complete which would allow Sierra Rutile to reach a final investment decision for Sembehun in late 2023.
The DFS and associated works will be funded from existing cash reserves and operating cashflow. The 2022 capital expenditure guidance of US$41m contained in the demerger booklet included costs allocated for undertaking the DFS.
“We are pleased to commence the Sembehun DFS on schedule following our recent demerger and ASX listing,” Managing Director and CEO, Theuns de Bruyn, said.
“Sierra Rutile is already one of the largest natural rutile producers in the world, and Sembehun is one of the largest and highest grade natural rutile deposits in the world.
“So we are very well positioned to significantly extend our mine life and continue to deliver value to our shareholders through the development Sembehun.”
Sierra Rutile has appointed consulting engineers Hatch Limited to undertake the study work, which will build upon the Pre-Feasibility Study completed by Hatch earlier this year.
Hatch’s scope of work will include updated designs for open pit mine, wet concentration plants and magnetic separation plant at the Mineral Separation Plant, Tailings Storage Facility and associated infrastructure, as well as including operational readiness planning.
Supporting study packages to inform the DFS include Resources and Reserve sign-off, hydrogeological modelling, hydrology and water balance, tailings modelling, process water dam designs, ecological reserve estimation, storm water management, sediment and geomorphology studies.
Other components of the DFS will include a Relocation Action Plan and Environmental Social and Health Impact Assessment as well as establishing a health clinic on site.
A phased development approach is planned to leverage the significant existing infrastructure in place at the company’s Area 1 operations, and integrate the potential development of Sembehun with the remainder of operations at Area 1.
This approach aims to minimise Sembehun pre-production capital expenditure and maximise Sierra Rutile’s ability to utilise cash flows generated from Area 1 to assist in funding the development of Sembehun.
For further information please visit: https://sierra-rutile.com/