The primary concentrator is typical of mineral sands operations. The concentrator has four stages of spirals and a hydrosizer to produce a heavy mineral concentrate (HMC). The final HMC, which has a grade of 92% heavy mineral, is stockpiled before being fed into the MSP.
The MSP uses conventional mineral sands separation equipment to produce final products consisting of primary ilmenite, secondary ilmenite and a valuable non-magnetic concentrate containing zircon and rutile.
The ilmenite circuit incorporates a combination of magnetic separators and high-tension rolls to produce 326,000 tpa of saleable sulphate Ilmenite and 81,000 tpa of saleable chloride Ilmenite.
The non-magnetic circuit utilises gravity separation (spirals) and magnetic separation to produce 44,000 tpa of saleable zircon and rutile rich concentrate.
The three products primary ilmenite, secondary ilmenite and non-magnetic concentrate are all kept dry and up to three months of shed storage capacity is provided for each product. Final products will be loaded into road trains which will haul the final products along a dedicated haul road to product storage sheds near the town of Toliara approximately 55km from the MSP.
Mining and production are scheduled to commence in 2H 2014. Ilmenite production averages 407,000 tpa and non-magnetic concentrate production averages 44,000 tpa over the life of mine. The split of ilmenite between sulphate and chloride grade product is expected to be 80%/20%.
All three products are within the range of normal quality parameters for equivalent products. During earlier process trials a zircon product with less than 600ppm U +Th was made from this concentrate using standard mineral sands processes. This is within the range of zircon products currently in the market.
Primary concentrator flowsheet.
Feed and ilmenite circuit.