Amex Resource’s Ironsands Mining Project Moving Ahead
Those who are wondering about the much-talked about Amex Resources Ironsand mining project, it is moving ahead.
A US$76.3 million International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIFIC) contract for design, procurement and construction of the Mba Delta marine operations fleet and Lautoka port facilities has been signed.
This is with CCCC First Harbor Consultants Co., Ltd (FHC), Amex Resources managing director, Matthew Collard confirmed in the company’s quarterly update.
He said the Contractor is a highly regarded international port infrastructure specialist, with previous experience in Fiji and knowledge of the Mba Delta project.
The design/procure/construct period will to be 18 months from mobilisation to taking over, and is scheduled for completion by June 30, 2017.
Building of the port infrastructure comprising workshop/stores, administration building, training facility, laboratory/ control room and support facilities will commence from the end of March.
Construction of the wharf and fully enclosed storage shed following two months later from the beginning of June.
Shipbuilding of the operations fleet – dredge, processing plant, work boat and pusher tug – will be carried out by FHC under the contract, with sea trials scheduled for completion in February 2017.
Mr Collard said Amex will provide support vessels to the fleet including four transport barges.
He said Amex will also commission construction in Fiji of a refuelling/service vessel and a crew transfer boat.
Project Update and Contract Status
Amex will produce magnetite concentrate from its 220 million tonne ironsands resource at the Mba Delta over a 20 year mine-life.
This will be by dredge operation and magnetic separation on the adjacent floating process plant. The product will be transported daily by barge to Amex’s nearby Lautoka port site.
The site will comprise an unloading facility, washing plant to remove sea salt, enclosed stockpile shed, ship loading infrastructure, a dedicated export berth for vessels of up to 60,000 tonnes capacity, workshops and offices.
Mr Collard said the projected operating costs are very low, currently assessed as US$20 to $22/tonne, based on the Bankable Feasibility Study and subsequent movements in exchange rates and fuel prices.
“The Board is confident that Amex is well-positioned to take advantage of iron ore prices recovering in the lead up to production and over the planned long mine-life,” he said.
Mr Collar said further works in preparation for dredging required to deepen the berth and access channel at Amex’s Lautoka port site have been carried out, and budget quotes have been sought.
“Several detailed plans of stormwater drainage flows onto and through the site have been located and incorporated into construction schedules,” he said.
“Planning for additional staff employment was continued at the Lautoka office during the period, together with development of procedures, safety and health manuals in anticipation of finalising contract negotiations.
“The Company was advised in September that the scheme for subleasing of part of the Government’s dredge facility on the Ba River at Nailaga to Amex, for use as a transit base and crew transfer station, has been approved by the Department of Town and Country Planning.
“This will provide a secure jetty/mooring basin ideally located close to the regional town of Ba, on the main national highway.
“On the Mba Delta, the Lands & Water Research Management Division of the Ministry of Agriculture will commission a programme of dredging to re-establish a channel from the mouth of the Ba River into the lagoon.
“The primarily objective of the dredging is for potential flood remediation by removal of a build up of sediments which are partially blocking the river mouth.
“These sediments form a small part of the overall ironsands resource.”
“The Company is deeply appreciative of the cooperation of the Fijian Government in seeking input from Amex to ensure that their forthcoming works do not sterilise or deplete any part of the Ba Delta orebody.”