JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The New South Wales Planning and Environment department has formally issued the mining leases for the Clean TeQ Sunrise project area and proposed limestone quarry, marking a key milestone in the development of one of the largest cobalt and nickel deposits outside Africa.
Clean TeQ, which is chaired by Robert Friedland and Jiang Zhaobai, is preparing a mine operation plan for approval, which will enable the start of site work and construction later this year, the company reported on Friday.
In a project update, Clean TeQ also reported that it was making progress towards completion of the definitive feasibility study (DFS) for the project, but said that the capital cost estimate for the project was likely to exceed the capital estimate reported in the technical report of November 2017.
The higher expected capital cost was as a result of scope changes, as Clean TeQ is investigating optimising the design and sizing of the refinery. The optimisation programme is also evaluating the benefits of a range of potential improvements to the process plant and associated infrastructure to provide greater production flexibility.
Clean TeQ also reported that it had recently received a proposal for a fixed price lump-sum engineering, procurement, construction (EPC) contract for the Sunrise project. The current DFS contracting strategy contemplates project delivery through an alliance contracting model, which is akin to an engineering, procurement, construction management contract, in conjunction with SNC Lavalin and CB&I.
Clean TeQ said that it believed there was strong merit in conducting a detailed review of the EPC proposal to gauge the potential benefits that it could deliver in terms of capital cost savings and reducing project delivery risk.
“In order for it to be thoroughly evaluated, the company has elected to extend the delivery date of the DFS by 12 weeks, with the target completion date by the end of June,” the firm stated.
Meanwhile, Clean TeQ announced the appointment of Stewart Hamilton from Acacia Mining, where he was GM of the Buzwagi gold mine, in Tanzania, as its GM for operational readiness.
The company recently appointed Tim Kindred as operations director.
Following the 2017 resource update, which demonstrated the potential for increased cobalt production, the company has optimised the design and sizing of the resin-in-pulp and refinery circuits.
Clean TeQ Sunrise is one of the largest cobalt and nickel deposits outside Africa, and one of the largest and highest-grade accumulations of scandium ever discovered.