Officials at Australia’s Gindalbie Metals have reported that a ramp-up of operations at the Karara project in Western Australia is in full swing with no material problems with the plant’s commissioning. So far, seven of the nine key mine areas at the Karara concentrator have been successfully commissioned, according to Gindalbie officials. These include components of the front-end crushing and grinding circuit of the plant—the primary and secondary crushers, high pressure grinding rolls and ball mills.
Gindalbie Managing Director Tim Netscher expressed enthusiasm of the company’s progression, particularly given the Karara concentrator’s complexities. “All major components of the plant—the biggest risk area in achieving full performance—have operated at up to design capacity,” Netscher said in a statement.
Each component has been commissioned and successfully operated to design throughput rate, company representatives added. The project team, meanwhile, is focusing on the final two areas—the polishing circuit and a group of ancillary functions including the tailings circuit.
Roughly 75% of the polishing circuit is now operational, resulting in improvements to the magnetite concentrate grade up to 65% Fe. The final concentrate grade of 68% Fe is expected to be achieved with the commissioning of the flotation circuit.
After the initial 70% production throughput capacity plant ramp-up, minor tailings circuit filtering problems have been encountered and temporarily restricted, noted the company. Troubleshooting presaged the installation of additional piping and pumping capacity; additional equipment has been ordered while rectification will be completed by the end of Q2 2013.
The project team is also targeting nameplate capacity of 8 million metric tons per year (mt/y) and premium specifications by Q3 2013, company officials reported. Product shipments are continuing and the Karara project has now shipped 3.4 million mt through the Karara Export Terminal in Geraldton. So far, 46 shipments of DSO hematite have been completed for 2.7 million mt and 11 shipments of magnetite concentrate have been completed for a total of 700,000 mt.