Engineering & Mining Journal

MAR 2019

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REGIONAL NEWS - AUSTRALIA/OCEANIA MARCH 2019 • E&MJ 13 www.e-mj.com NAIF Backs Australia's First Fertilizer Project The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) will invest $74 million in Australia's first plant to produce sulphate of potash (SOP). The NAIF loan will be provided to Kalium Lakes Ltd. to help develop its $250 million Beyondie SOP project. The project will produce 90,000 metric tons per year (mt/y) of SOP at a facility 160 kilometers (km) southeast of Newman in Western Australia. "For the first time, Australia will have a domestic source of SOP, a crucial fertilizer that Australia has until now had to import," said Sen. Matthew Canavan, minister for resources and Northern Australia. "This project itself will directly create more than 150 jobs, but it will help support many thousands more in our farming industry right across Australia." Federal Member for Durack Melissa Price said the project involved developing the Beyondie, 10 Mile and Sunshine Lake sub-surface brine deposits and included construction of evaporation ponds and a processing facility. "The NAIF will invest in a new gas pipeline, a new power plant and road up- grades that will provide wider benefits to the Pilbara," Price said. "Over 75 km of roads will be sealed and that will benefit Western Australian graziers and local in- digenous communities, too." "The NAIF program has provided solid support for a number of big-ticket projects in my electorate, including the Thunderbird Mineral Sands project and upgrading and expanding the marine sup- port facilities at Onslow." This investment brings the total amount of NAIF investments to almost $1.3 billion for 10 separate projects. Around $296 million in NAIF funding has gone toward supporting projects in Western Australia, which will help create more than 370 jobs across five projects. Altogether NAIF investments have helped unlock $2.8 billion of total investments across Northern Australia. Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said Australian resources exports in 2018 set a new re- cord of $248 billion. "Higher prices and export volumes produced a record $66 billion in exports of coal, and made it Australia's most valuable single export," Minister Canavan said. "This highlights the continuing role of coal in providing jobs and income for communities throughout Australia, and in underpinning our strong national eco- nomic performance." Canavan said there is a potential for expanded earning as output from existing coal basins is increased and the Galilee Basin is brought into production. The value of 2018 coal exports was up 16% on the previous year's $57 billion and across the board resources exports were up 20% on the previous year's $206 billion. "Resources contributed 72% of Aus- tralia's export of goods in the year and more than half of the nation's total exports of goods and services," Canavan said. High Grades Support Cerro Blanco Gold Project Bluestone Resources has reported the re- sults of an independent, NI 43-101-com- pliant feasibility study of its 100% owned Cerro Blanco underground gold project in southeast Guatemala. The study is based on proven and probable mineral reserves of 940,000 ounces (oz) of gold and 3.6 million oz of silver in 3.4 million metric tons (mt) at grades of 8.5 grams (g) per mt gold and 32.2 g/mt silver. Total gold production is estimated at ap- proximately 902,000 oz over an eight-year mine life, including an average of 146,000 oz/y gold during the first three years of pro- duction. Initial capital to develop the pro- ject is estimated at $196 million, with an after-tax payback period of 2.1 years. Aver- age life-of-mine all-in sustaining costs are estimated at $579/oz, net of credits. The Cerro Blanco project is located approximately 160 km by road from Gua- temala City, nine km west of the border with El Salvador. Bluestone acquired the project from Goldcorp in January 2017. The current project benefits from an ex- isting underground access decline, a fully functional water treatment plant, main- tenance shops, a warehouse and office facilities, and results from more than 128,000 m of drilling. The current decline will serve as the primary access to the mine for personnel, materials, and haulage of mineralized material to the plant site. Annual ore pro- duction of up to 460,000 mt is planned from a combination of long-hole stoping and cut-and-fill mining methods. Processing is based on a plant with throughput capacity of 1,250 mt/d. The comminution circuit includes three-stage crushing and two-stage ball mill grinding to produce a target grind size of 80% passing 50 microns. Based on recent test work, the optimized flowsheet includes pre-oxidation and a 48-hour leach circuit followed by a 6-hour carbon-in-pulp ad- sorption circuit, with expected recoveries of 96% gold and 85% silver. A drilling program is ongoing, and re- sults will be incorporated into an updated resource estimate in the third quarter of 2019, followed by an updated feasibility study. The Cerro Blanco feasibility study was led by JDS Energy & Mining, with partic- ipation by Capuano Engineering, Hatch Ltd., Kirkham Geosystems, and Stantec. With large-scale evaporation ponds, Kalium Lakes expects to be a low-cost SOP producer.

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