Road trains will be used to transport ilmenite and non-magnetic products from the mine/MSP site to the Toliara storage facility. These vehicles will accommodate up to four trailers, with a combined payload of approximately 110 tonne and will be supplied and operated by the haulage contractor.
The existing road network comprises poorly maintained rural unsealed tracks that serve the local communities. Consequently a purpose built haulage road will need to be constructed by widening and re-surfacing a series of tracks leading from the Fiheranana River to the mine site. The road will be unsealed and built using crushed limestone sourced from a nearby dedicated quarry.
The existing 350 metre long bridge across the Fiheranana is considered unsuitable for 110 tonne road trains. Instead a causeway will be built to safely cross the Fiheranana River. 3 months product storage is built at both the MSP and jetty to enable continuous operation during the wet season when the causeway may be closed for up to 12 weeks depending on the flow of water in the river.
A product storage site and stand-alone jetty capable of loading bulk vessels will be situated on the sand-spit just to the north of Toliara in an area sheltered from off-shore wave swells. The area will allow for the ilmenite and non-magnetic concentrate storage sheds, offices, power generation, weighbridge facilities, truck unloading and truck turning areas.
The load-out facility will comprise a raised jetty extending out into the deep water channel to enable direct loading of bulk ilmenite and non-magnetic concentrate (via conveyors) products onto waiting vessels. An earlier bathymetric study showed that the deep water zone of the channel leading to the port is sufficiently deep (12–16 metres) for larger vessels up to Handymax and Supramax size (45,500 to 52,500 tonnes).
There appear to be no navigational issues associated with the port development for both the design vessels (Handysize) and maximum vessels (Supramax) based in the following:
- The natural channel widths are three to four times wider than the recommended channel width requirements.
- The ship turning area is two to three times larger than the recommended ship turning area requirements.
- The clearance between a ship at berth and any passing ships is three to five times greater than the recommended ship clearance distance.
The zircon rich concentrate can also be loaded into containers and transported to the existing Toliara port for shipment.
At steady state the plant will require approximately 4.0 Gl of water per year to be abstracted, the majority of which is returned to the mine pit in the tailings. Mine and processing water requirements will be supplied from a series of boreholes located adjacent to the deposit. Used process water would be passed through a thickener, with cleaned water returned to the process water dam while a stream containing thickened fines would be deposited back in the mine void along with the plant tailings.
The existing Toliara power station does not have sufficient capacity to provide the required power to the mine and MSP. Diesel generated power is therefore considered as the only practical option for the project. Total installed power is estimated at 5.5 MW. The estimated annual fuel requirement for power generation is 6 million litres.