With construction complete and mining underway, the Grande Côte Mineral Sands Project is one of only a few major new projects globally that is set to take advantage of the supply-constrained mineral sands sector.
Located in Senegal, one of Africa’s most successful democracies
Grande Côte is located in Senegal, west Africa. Having gained independence in 1960, Senegal enjoys a stable and investor friendly political and social environment. The government of the Republic of Senegal is a valued partner and holds a 10% free carried interest in the project.
The Project itself is on a coastal, mobile dune system starting approximately 50 kilometres north of the capital Dakar, and is approximately 100 kilometres in length and four kilometres in width.
A 20+ year mine life
Grande Côte, over an expected mine life of at least 20 years, is anticipated to produce on average approximately 85ktpa of zircon and 575ktpa of ilmenite (and small amounts of rutile and leucoxene) when in full production.
To date, a total measured and indicated resource estimate of 1.030 billion tonnes at 1.73% heavy mineral (at a 1.25% cut-off grade) and a proved and probable Ore Reserve estimate of 751 million tonnes of 1.8% heavy mineral (representing a mine dredge path for the first 14 years of operation) has been developed. The current resource estimate covers approximately 50% of the Mining Concession.
The simplicity of the orebody allows for conventional dredging and processing. The dunes contain no overburden, minor vegetation, free flowing sands and minimal slimes, providing for an uncomplicated mining operation.
The dredge itself travels through the dunes and utilises the area’s shallow water table. It mines sand from the front of the dredge pond and pumps slurry to the floating concentrator. Sand is then washed through spirals, separating the heavy mineral concentrate from lighter quartz sand which is sprayed out the back of the pond restoring the landscape.
The heavy mineral is then transferred to the mineral separation plant where magnetic, electrostatic and gravity processes separate the heavy mineral concentrate into various minerals – zircon, ilmenite, rutile and leucoxene. No chemicals are used in this process.
Utilising existing infrastructure and taking logistics into our own hands
We have made it a priority to control all our own logistical needs from the process plant to the ship hold. We are highly fortunate in being able to utilise existing infrastructure such as major rail and road links and the Dakar port facilities.
A concession has been negotiated with the government for use of approximately 100 kilometres of existing rail line which will be refurbished. This will be linked to the mineral separation plant with a new 22 kilometre spur line, providing controlled rail from the treatment plant to our port facilities. Ilmenite will be loaded in bulk, while zircon will be containerised for rail transportation and storage at the port.
A large area has been acquired under lease at the port where we will build our own storage facilities and we have secured use of a mole for ship loading.
A 36 megawatt power station has been built at the mineral separation plant, capable of being powered by heavy fuel oil, natural gas or diesel, which will give us security of power supply.