Modern Mining

AIM-quoted Savannah Resources has announced that construction of the 20 t/h pilot plant for its bulk metallurgical test work programme at the Mutamba mineral sands project in Mozambique is now complete.

Savannah’s CEO, David Archer, says that commissioning of the plant is well underway in anticipation of an official opening in December. “The pilot plant construction work has been completed on time and on budget and maintains the Consortium’s fast-paced approach towards the project including the delivery of a Scoping Study earlier this year,” he comments.

The Mutamba pilot plant (photo: Savannah).

“Upon completion of commissioning, the plant will provide concentrate bulk samples for analysis and the preparation of final products for test marketing. The completion of the plant is another key milestone for the Mutamba Consortium as we move the project towards a development decision.

“In the meantime, the overall market setting for TiO2 feedstocks continues to improve and new supply of TiO2 feedstocks will be required to meet forecast demand and to ease anticipated market tightness.”

The commissioning process is expected to take around four weeks to complete and includes three stages: water commissioning; sand commissioning; and ore commissioning.

The test work to be undertaken will act as proof-of-concept for the future development model at Mutamba. Savannah is currently targeting first production in 2020 with an estimated average annual production of 456 000 tonnes of ilmenite and 118 000 tonnes of non-magnetic concentrate over a 30-year life of mine.

Savannah’s Consortium Agreement with Rio Tinto became operative in October 2016, with the goal of defining a potential dry mining operation for staged, early development at Mutamba. The agreement combines Savannah’s Jangamo project with Rio Tinto’s adjacent Mutamba project, which includes three deposit areas – Jangamo, Dongane and Ravene – and the Chilubane deposit, which is located 180 km to the south west of Mutamba.

Savannah is the operator of the project and can earn up to a 51 % interest in the combined project as it moves towards production through scoping, pre-feasibility and feasibility studies. The Consortium Agreement includes an offtake agreement on commercial terms for the sale of 100 % of production to Rio Tinto (or an affiliate).

The project is located in the Gaza and Inhambane provinces of Mozambique in a world-class heavy minerals sands (HMS) region close to established infrastructure, approximately 450 km north-east of the capital city of Maputo.

The global mineral resource estimate for the Mutamba project (Jangamo, Dongane and Ravene) currently stands at 4,4 Bt at 3,9 %total heavy minerals (THM) comprising both indicated and inferred category material and containing ilmenite, rutile and zircon This includes a high-grade portion of 92 Mt at 6,2 % THM, which was defined at Ravene.

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