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:: Mineral-sands Pre-feasibility Study Completed for Norilsk Nickel
Bateman Engineering has completed a pre-feasibility study for OAO 'MMC' Norilsk Nickel on the recovery of ilmenite, rutile and zircon from Norilsk's Tsentralnoye deposit in Russia. The deposit is located in the Rasskazovsky district in the Tambov region, about 60 km east of the city of Tambov and about 20 km from the town of Rasskazovo.
The process flow sheet developed through the study revealed that the deposit could be mined by dredging once the overburden had been removed by truck and shovel. The intention is that dredging would take place all year despite the sub-zero temperatures of the Russian winter. The mined deposit would be processed in a floating concentrator with a wet-gravity circuit to produce a concentrate of heavy minerals. This would be piped to a land-based mineral-separation plant utilising the latest gravity-, magnetic- and electrostatic-separation technologies to produce saleable ilmenite, rutile and zircon.
A 20 t sample of the Tsentralnoye deposit was used in the test programme required to develop and design the process flow sheet. The programme of gravity and magnetic tests was conducted by Bateman Engineering in South Africa and the electrostatic tests by OreKenetics in Australia. The fine-grained nature of the minerals in the deposit posed special challenges in designing a plant that would ensure that the grade and mineral recovery levels would be maintained. Since the deposit is in an established high-performance agricultural area, the process sheet also provided for a minimal environmental impact and the effective restoration of the mined-out area.
As Bateman Engineering is not a supplier of any of the equipment proposed for the plant, it was well placed to serve as an independent process evaluator of the best equipment available to the client.
This pre-feasibility study was awarded to Bateman Engineering on the basis of its previous experience in the provision of facilities to process heavy-mineral sands, which includes projects at Moma and Corridor Sands in Mozambique and Namakwa Sands and Hillendale in South Africa. The Norilsk study took 9 months and was carried out under a lump-sum contract.
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