Cominco Resources Limited (Cominco) continues to develop its 100% owned Hinda Phosphate Project (Project) where the Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) indicates it has capacity to repay its US $601M development cost within 26 months.
The Hinda deposit is one of the world’s largest and thickest undeveloped phosphate JORC Ore Reserves. It has a low overburden to ore ratio and can be open pit mined, by free-digging, with no requirement for ripping or blasting.The Project is located in the coastal province of Kouilou and is favorably situated 37km from the port city of Pointe-Noire, the economic capital of Republic of Congo. Pointe-Noire is a major deep-water container port on the Atlantic coast of central Africa.
The DFS demonstrates that the Hinda Project is technically and commercially robust and has the capacity to repay its US$601M development cost within 26months of production generating an after-tax, ungeared 38% IRR and NPV10% of US$1.85 billion.
Colin Ikin, Chairman of Cominco Resources says “Republic of Congo is a stable and safe place to work and invest, with a developed commercial sector, following the long-term success of the country’s oil and gas industry. Pointe-Noire is a city I know well, with a population of over 1M, and the economic capital of the country. It is one of the most attractive coastal city in Africa I have ever seen.”
The Project involves the development of an open cut mining operation including in-pit crushing of an average 20 Mt/y of ore. The ore will be delivered to a beneficiation plant that will upgrade the apatite to produce 4.1 Mt/y of saleable phosphate rock concentrate (Phosrock) grading 32% P2O5. A slurry pipeline will transport this product 42 km to the export facility at Pointe Indienne immediately north of Pointe-Noire. Product dewatering, drying, storage and ship loading facilities will be built at Pointe Indienne. The Project includes all of the infrastructure required to support the development including power and gas transmission, accommodation and other buildings, access roads and mobile equipment.
The main participants in the DFS were:
- Cominco, who prepared sections on geological definition and the Mineral Resource Estimate (by CSA Global)marketing studies and price forecasts (by CRU Consulting),legal framework, permitting status and community relations;
- SRK Consulting (UK) (SRK)who provided the JORC compliant Ore Reserve Statement, mine design and schedules and the mine capital and operating cost estimates. SRK also completed reports on hydrology, hydrogeology and geotechnical investigations. These studies have facilitated the design and cost estimation of the water management systems and the tailings storage facility as well as the mine itself;
- Ausenco Engineering (Ausenco), who were responsible for the overall management and coordination of the DFS, including the metallurgical testworkprogramme,and the design and costing of the beneficiation plant at Hinda and Pointe Indienne. Ausenco carried out product slurry test vwork, facilitating the design and costing of the concentrate pipeline and completed the design and cost estimation of the export jetty, based on their evaluation of available bathymetric and geophysical data;
- Mintek, who conducted the metallurgical bench and piloting test work;
- Prayon, in Belgium, who carried out acidulation test work on the concentrate generated in the pilot campaigns to evaluate its amenability to the production of phosphoric acid and DAP; andWSP (Genivar), who managed the environmental baseline studies and the development of an independent ESIA for the exploitation phase of the Project.
Chairman of Cominco Resources states: “Supporting Project Infrastructure is a necessary part of the Hinda Phosphate Project but as well important for the community. This is a project that will create local jobs and a modern roads for the area”.
The project costs are inclusive of all equipment and plant required to support the mining and processing activities. The following has been incorporated to provide the necessary infrastructure and services and to facilitate the logistical requirements associated with export of the Phosrock:
- Electrical Power Supply – A 16km long 220 kVA transmission line;
- Tailings Storage Facility –The Poundji valley will be the first of these impoundment facilities to be constructed;
- Product Slurry Pipeline
- Export Jetty and Concentrate Storage –An enclosed product conveyor will run to the vessel loading platform via a causeway. A 1,300m long access trestle will run between the shore and the loading platform. The platform will support the ship loader.