JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Plant commissioning of Aim-listed mineral sands producer Sierra Rutile’s Gangama dry mine project, in Sierra Leone, has been completed and the project handed over to Sierra Rutile by DRA Projects.
“The Gangama dry mine is now operational and producing high-quality natural rutile – a high-grade titanium feedstock,” the company said.
Plant commissioning is deemed to be attained once the dry mining plant has operated and processed ore for seven consecutive days, achieving specific design criteria which includes nameplate capacity of 500 t/h.
During the seven-day process guarantee period, the Gangama dry mine plant operated at an average throughput rate of 555 t/h and achieved 87% availability.
Steady-state production was expected to be achieved within four months.
Sierra Rutile said it remained “fully engaged” in process optimisation, value engineering and market evaluation of two further near-term expansion projects – the installation of 250 t/h bolt-on units, one each at the Lanti dry mine and the Gangama dry mine.
It also continued with a definitive feasibility study for its Sembehun dry mine.
“In addition to its existing operations, these projects will enable Sierra Rutile to continue to implement its strategy of increasing production through expansion of its dry mining operations, aligning production with anticipated customer demand in a capital efficient manner.
The near-term expansion projects will further improve Sierra Rutile's ability to quickly respond to a market upturn,” it said.