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:: The Moma Mineral-sands Processing Facility in Mozambique
The heavy-minerals processing project at Moma in Mozambique for Kenmare Resources plc of Ireland is nearing completion. This project is being conducted under a US$265 million EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contract by a joint venture between subsidiaries of Bateman Engineering and Multiplex Ltd of Australia. An integrated project team based in Bateman Engineering’s offices in Boksburg is handling the project. The plant has been designed for an operational life of 22 years to process sands containing 4.3 % of heavy minerals composed of ilmenite (81.4 %), zircon (6.4 %) and rutile (2.2 %). An annual heavy-minerals production of about 800,000 t is expected. Moma will be a low-cost producer with the lowest production costs after the existing Richards Bay operation in South Africa.
Kenmare has the resources to sustain production at the initial production level for 80 years and has recently announced a further increase in its resource base of 60 %.
The processes used at Moma are based on proven technology. The heavy-mineral sands are mined by dredging a pond using two suction dredges with a combined capacity of 5,000 t/h. The sand is fed to the floating wet-concentrator plant (WCP) where it passes through trommels and desliming cyclones before processing in a twin-stream spiral circuit with a combined capacity of 3,000 t/h.
During the first six months after start-up, while the dredge pond is being expanded, a start-up tailings stockpile will be used for the coarse, sand tailings and a slimes dam for the fine tailings. Thereafter, the two waste streams will be returned under gravity to the back end of the dredge pond or pumped to a land-based stacker complete with cyclones.
The heavy-mineral concentrate from the WCP is transported through a 2,000 m pipeline, and thereafter dewatered and stockpiled on five 4,000 t operational stockpiles near the dry-mineral-separation plant (MSP). Provision is made in the design to expand the stockpiling capacity to provide for emergency and future requirements.
The MSP comprises a 120 t/h fluid-bed dryer; an ilmenite circuit with drum-magnets and electrostatic-plate separators; a wet non-magnetic and rutile circuit with filter, dryer and separators; wet and dry zircon separation circuits; hot-acid leach and zircon blending circuits as well as a roaster plant. The MSP produces four fractions of ilmenite (of which two can be roasted), two grades of rutile and two grades of zircon.
The products are stored in a shed with a capacity of 139,300 t (109,000 t of ilmenite, 11,200 t of rutile and 19,100 t of zircon). Tailings from the MSP are pumped about 5 km and deposited back into the dredge pond.
The wet-concentrator plant and part of the mineral-separation plant acquired by Kenmare from the now closed Beenup mine in Western Australia were important components of the new processing facilities at Moma. Both Beenup plants closely matched the Moma requirements and were in a substantially reusable condition. For Moma, the capacity of the Beenup WCP was increased by the addition of two more cyclones and, at the MSP, rutile- and zircon-processing circuits, a roaster and a hot acid-leach circuit were added. The Beenup plants were dismantled and then transported from the port of Bunbury in Australia, transhipped Moma’s infrastructure
More details on the Moma project may be obtained from John Hope, General Manager, Industrial Minerals or Nick Haywood, joint venture Bateman Project Manager, on +27-11-899-9111 or email Industrial.Minerals@BatemanEngineering.com.
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