Sandpiper Joint Venture Project
See also link to Namibian Marine Phosphate (Pty) Ltd
Africa Downunder Presentation August 2012:
Presenter: Mike Woodborne, General Manager Marine & African Projects
Sandpiper Phosphate Project
NOTE: There is a conditional agreement recently signed on 4 October 2012 to sell this project to Mawarid Mining LLC refer: http://www.minemakers.com.au/downloads/121004MinemakersSandpiperSaleAnnouncementFINALdocx.pdf
Minemakers acquired its direct equity in the Sandpiper Joint Venture ("JV") phosphate project in offshore Namibia via the acquisition in July 2009 of Bonaparte Diamond Mines NL ("Bonaparte").
The Namibian continental shelf is now confirmed to host phosphate resources of world stature. The largest portion of the zone of highest regional phosphate concentration is held by Namibian Marine Phosphate (Pty) Ltd ("NMP") in its Mining Licence ML170 and six Exclusive Prospecting Licences comprised the Sandpiper Project. The NMP Joint Venture partners comprise Minemakers Limited (42.5%), UCL Resources Limited (42.5%) and Tungeni Investments cc (15%). Minemakers also holds a 14.2% interest in UCL Resources Limited.
The JV was signed in October 2008 to jointly develop the companies' adjacent marine phosphate projects. The companies then entered into a Shareholders Agreement dated 30 July 2010 as the basis for establishing NMP. NMP is well placed to rapidly develop a new phosphate province in Namibia and controls a substantial part of the most prospective areas. NMP's mineral licences lie in waters approximately 60km off the coast of Namibia and cover a combined area of approximately 7,000km2 in the regional phosphate enriched province to the south of Walvis Bay in water depths of 180–300m. In June 2011, NMP was granted a Mining Licence, valid for 20 years, covering 2,233km2 and including all of the mineral resource defined in the Sandpiper Project area, where published regional mapping showed phosphate concentration of more than 20% by weight. These deposits were delineated during regional scientific studies in the 1970s but have remained undeveloped until now for economic reasons. They occur as unconsolidated seafloor sediments, which now lie within the reach and capability of currently available dredging technology.
The Board took the view that, on balance, it was in the Company's best interests to divest the project for around $25 million.
A Scoping Study for a mining operation at an annual production rate of approximately 3Mtpa was completed in late 2010. The favourable result from the Scoping Study and justified commitment to a Definitive Feasibility Study, which was completed in the first quarter of 2012. It is envisaged that construction could commence soon after gaining the necessary development funding and government approvals: construction period is about two years.
Definitive Feasibility Study
The DFS was managed by lead consultant, Bateman Advanced Technologies Limited, ("Bateman") the study report covers the 4 principal work programmes, being
Phase 1: Laboratory testwork to confirm process parameters
Phase 2: Pilot testwork to produce a bulk concentrate for marketing and design input
Phase 3: Basic engineering for the process plant
Phase 4: Front-end engineering design for the process plant
In accordance with the terms of the granted Mining Licence and in compliance with the Namibian Environmental Management Act (No. 7 of 2007), NMP lodged the EIA and EMP on 12 January 2102 for the marine mining component of the project. Following a mandatory public review period, the Draft final EIA/EMP will be completed and lodged by completion of the DFS.
Mining Processing and Marketing Overview
It is intended that dredging of the seafloor sediments will be achieved with a large capacity trailing suction hopper dredge, using existing technology. The dredge will steam to a site about 120km south of Walvis Bay and then return to discharge the ore to a buffer pond onshore through a temporary pipeline (refer video).
At the buffer pond, seashells will be screened off and the phosphate sand and mud will be transported by slurry pipeline to the beneficiation plant about 4km inland from Walvis Bay Port. At the beneficiation plant the phosphate sands will be separated using gravity spiral concentrators and washed to remove salt, then dried and taken to the port for export as phosphate concentrate.
Production is aimed to begin at 1Mpta and be ramped up to 3Mtpa as markets develop and the capacity of the port is expanded.
Indications are that the Sandpiper phosphate rock should be suitable for the production of merchant grade phosphoric acid and is very reactive, which opens the possibility of sales into the direct application market. Test samples of Sandpiper "Namphos" concentrate are being issued for marketing purposes.
As at February 2012, as prepared by an independent expert, JORC and NI 43-101 Compliant Mineral Resource estimates, at 15% P2O5 cut-off, are currently:
|60Mt @ 20.8% P2O5||167mt @ 20% P2O5||1,608Mt @ 18.9% P2O5|
NMP is in dialogue with the Ministry of Fisheries and other government departments concerning approvals for the marine mining component of the project. Completion of the inputs into submissions for the land-based component is awaiting government approval of processing sites and product transport routes.
The DFS is being optimised for final submissions into the approvals process, which will also cover water, power supply, port access and product ingress to port and bulk loading capacity increases at the port.