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Amex Multi Million Dollar West Project Takes Shape

Amex Multi Million Dollar West Project Takes Shape
An aerial view of the Amex Resources Limited Lautoka Port Site under construction.
January 10
11:00 2018

 

A lot of exciting  developments are taking place in the Sugar City.

Amex Resources Limited’s Mba Delta Ironsands Project facility at the Lautoka wharf is one that is underway with its towering structures being put into place.

Expert Chinese port developer CCCC First Harbour Consultants employees have been working under the scorching west heat to complete the project in time.

 

Financial Investment

Amex director Mathew Collard said the company since being granted its special prospecting licence back in February of 2009 has invested over $255 million into the project.

“There is a further $100m expected to be spent between now and the end of construction, which is August, 2018,” Mr Collard said.

 

Physical development

Outlining the physical development of the project, Mr Collard said the following background information on the project was being provided to understanding why the infrastructure and equipment was being built.

The company’s Mba Delta ironsands orebody occurs as a simple flat lying blanket of fine to coarse magnetite-bearing black sand, approximately 15 kilometres long by up to four kilometres wide, located on the tidal and sub-tidal flats of the delta.

It lies at the mouth of the Ba River and is bordered by a sparsely-populated agricultural area.

Amex applied to the Mineral Resources Department for a prospecting licence in August 2008 and since then has proved up the orebody through numerous phases of exploration and development activities.

Amex’s ironsands concentrate is a high-quality and low impurity magnetite product which can be readily extracted at low cost by dredging of unconsolidated sediments, without the expensive crushing and grinding required by hard rock magnetite sources.

The deposit lies in a shallow lagoon which has minimal current and wave activity and is ideally suited to extraction by conventional dredging methods, planned at a rate of 12 million tonnes annually over the next 20 years.

From the dredge, the sand will be pumped to a nearby barge-mounted process plant along a 500m long floating pipeline.

Simple chemical-free magnetic separation at the process plant will recover the magnetite concentrate, and a fleet of up to four barges and a pusher tug will carry the product daily to the company’s sole-use facilities nearby at Lautoka Port.

The host sand will be rehabilitated immediately to the delta floor.

“By adopting a marine based transportation route, heavy haulage on the existing Kings Road from Ba to Lautoka will be avoided and the building and maintenance of costly rail or road transport infrastructure was not required,” Mr Collard said.

At port, the concentrate will be unloaded as slurry and then rinsed with fresh water to remove sea salt, followed by drying and stockpiling in a fully enclosed purpose built storage facility of 75,000 tonne capacity.

Bulk carrier vessels of Handymax size will berth at Amex’s sole-use wharf facility at regular intervals to accept cargoes of up to 60,000 tonnes capacity via the purpose-built ship loader facility, for export to China.

Following an initial six-month ramp up period, annual production of 750,000 tonnes of magnetite concentrate targeting 58 percent Fe will be sold primarily to steel mills in China.

The main structures at the purpose built wharf facility include:

n200m long enclosed stockpile shed of which 160 foundation piles weighing approximately 12 tonne each and 33m in length were driven into the ground to accommodate the geotechnical conditions of a reclaimed site.

nInside the shed there will be a laser gantry crane specifically built to stack the 75,000 tonnes of concentrate into stockpiles.

nThe load out facility will consist of front end loaders which will feed the concentrate into hoppers and onto conveyors constructed to provide a 2,000 tonne per hour capacity.

nThe Northern Ireland  constructed mobile ship loader will be assembled on rail tracking allowing Handymax vessels to be loaded within a 2-3 day period.

nThe port site will also have an Administration building, laboratory, power station, training facility, washing and drying plant and guard house all being constructed in the coming 8 months.

 

Wharf area

Work is continuing on the wharf area where loading will done and this includes:

nThe 300m long berth wall incorporating 89 anchor piles, 179 king piles and 179 tie rods, and 575 tonnes of sheet piling all supplied from Belgium should be completed by the end of the month.

nThere is a plan in place to dredge the sea off the wharf area. Dredging at Lautoka Port is controlled by Fiji Ports Corporation Limited under the Sea Ports Management Act.

The current volume planned to be dredged to allow larger vessels to access the Lautoka Port is approximately 500,000 cubic metres.

“The project is scheduled for completion at the end of August 2018.

“For the commencement of production the Company will employ approximately 250 staff with a balance of skilled and unskilled positions.

“There will be specific training programs implemented for the operation across a variety of skill sets, with all employees to be sourced locally.

“The processing of the ironsands will involve technology not previously used in Fiji and the Company has established an operational readiness plan to allow for the appropriate training periods.”

Mr Collard said to bring any mining project into production required a committed team and from inception Amex has employed well respected and experienced local employees and consultants, including a Country Manager based in the project area.

“Exploration and mining requires companies to make large investments through exploration, feasibility studies, environmental impact assessments, operational environment management plans, detailed design and construction before any revenue can be generated.

“For Amex this process has taken over 9 years and we are conscious that we still have much work ahead of us before the first shipment of concentrate and first receipt of revenue,” Mr Collard said.

 

Feedback:  monica.aguilar@fijisun.com.fj

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