JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Aim-listed resource development company Savannah Resources has completed construction of the pilot plant for its bulk metallurgical test work programme at the Mutamba mineral sands project, in Mozambique.
The Mutamba project, located in the Gaza and Inhambane provinces, is being developed in a consortium with mining major Rio Tinto.
Commissioning of the 20 t/h pilot plant is now under way. The process, which is expected to take about four weeks and which will be concluded by the end of the year, will include water, sand and ore commissioning, the company reported in an update to shareholders on Monday.
The pilot plant will produce bulk samples of concentrate for metallurgical and product test work. The test work is to act as a proof-of-concept for a future development model. This model is currently targeting first production in 2020, with estimated production of 456 000 t/y of ilmenite and 118 000 t/y of nonmagnetic concentrate over a 30-year life-of-mine.
The current mineral resource estimate for the Mutamba project is 4.4-billion tonnes at 3.9% total heavy minerals, comprising both indicated and inferred category material and containing ilmenite, rutile and zircon, according to Savannah’s website.
The pilot plant construction work has been completed on time and within budget and maintains the consortium’s fast-paced approach towards the project, including the delivery of a scoping study earlier this year, Savannah CEO David Archer noted on Monday.
Archer noted that the overall market setting for titanium oxide (TiO₂) feedstocks continues to improve and new supply of TiO₂ feedstocks will be required to meet forecast demand and to ease anticipated market tightness.