Mineral Deposits Ltd. has released the results of a definitive feasibility study (DFS) of the Grande Côte mineral sands project on the Atlantic coast of Senegal. Compiled by AMC Consultants, the DFS has established a mine dredge path for the first 14 years of operation to mine proven and probable reserves totaling 751 million mt of 1.8% heavy mineral sands. The orebody characteristics— free flowing sands, a consistent grain size, no overburden, minor vegetation, minimal slimes, and no hard lenses—are expected to result in low operating costs Average annual production at Grande Côte is projected at about 575,000 mt of ilmenite, 80,000 mt of zircon, 6,000 mt of rutile, and 11,000 mt of leucoxene. Capital cost to develop the project, including contingency, is estimated at $406 million.
Production is planned to begin in 2013. The Grande Côte reserves are located in a coastal dune system starting about 50 km northeast of Dakar and extending northward for more than 100 km. The mineralized dune system averages 4 km in width and contains largely un-vegetated sand masses. The project area is 445.7 km2. Both the dunes and the underlying marine sands contain heavy minerals, principally ilmenite, with accessory zircon, rutile and leucoxene.
Mining will be carried out by dredging a continuous canal (dredge path) through the dunal orebody at a projected mining rate of about 55 million mt/y of sand. The dredge will float on an artificial pond, accompanied by a floating spiral concentrator. A tailings stacker will deposit tailings into the mined canal behind the concentrator to achieve a final landform. Detailed flowsheets, plant layouts, and the plant design basis for the project were developed by Ausenco.
Ilmenite will be transported in bulk by road to a railhead 25 km from the mine site and then by the existing rail system to the Port of Dakar. Zircon, rutile, and leucoxene will be transported to the port in shipping containers by trucks via 125 km of existing paved road.