SUNBIZ

Amex To Get Lautoka Port Site Handover

Fiji is expected to take in millions of dollars in revenue once the export of the magnetite-rich iron sands from the mouth of the Ba River begins. Excavation at the
27 May 2017 13:00
Amex To Get Lautoka Port Site Handover
Image showing of Amex Port Area in Lautoka.

Fiji is expected to take in millions of dollars in revenue once the export of the magnetite-rich iron sands from the mouth of the Ba River begins.

Excavation at the mouth of the Ba River was expected to reach one million tonne a month.

This Monday, the Mba Delta Ironsand Magnetite Port facility at Lautoka  will take an important step.

Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Lands and Mineral Resources Faiyaz Siddiq Koya will officiate at the site handover to Australian miners Amex Resources and CCCC First Harbour Consultants, a Chinese company with expertise in port development. Event begins at 11am.

This would see Fiji begin a new export product of materials that had settled at the mouth of the Ba River for a long time and was never thought of being rich in terms of revenue.

According to the company’s website, construction of its own wharf, enclosed stockpile shed and export facility for magnetite concentrate would begin next week.

It will sit adjacent to the Queens Wharf at Lautoka, the country’s second largest city and major bulk commodities port.

Amex has negotiated a long term lease agreement over 5.919 hectare at Fiji’s major bulk commodity shipping port of Lautoka.

The Lease agreement with Fiji Ports Corporation Limited, a Government enterprise, is for 45 years, comprising an initial 15 year term and two further option periods.

This term reflects the potential project mine life, based on the current Indicated Resource of 220 million tonnes and the additional exploration target which extends both inland and seaward.

The magnetite-rich iron sands resource lay predominantly at the mouth of the Ba River, near Votua Village and in a sparsely populated agricultural area.

The resource is held 100% by Amex under mining lease SML60 and surrounding special prospecting licence SPL1463, which together cover more than 132 square kilometres.

The company’s website adds that the resource occurs as a simple flat lying blanket of unconsolidated fine to coarse magnetite-bearing sand approximately 15 kilometres long by up to 4 kilometres wide.

It is developed from surface to depths of up to 9.4 metres, and averages 4.3 metres in thickness.

Continuity of magnetite mineralisation and geological control within the deltaic sand deposit is excellent, and much of the surface of the resource is exposed at low tide.

Only that part of the deposit extending from the shoreline to approximately two metres means water depth has been drill tested and included within the current JORC resource estimate. Both the seaward and landward extensions of the deposit have yet to be drilled, and present an attractive exploration target with potential to add substantially to resource tonnage.

A conventional dredging operation will be used to excavate the ore, at a rate of up to one million tonnes per month.

The material will be pumped from the dredge along a floating pipeline to a nearby barge-mounted process plant, where the magnetite will be recovered by way of a simple two-stage magnetic process.

No chemicals or high-energy grinding will be required, as the natural process of tropical weathering has freed the magnetite from the enclosing gangue minerals.

The concentrated magnetic sand product will be pumped into a barge moored alongside the process plant, and transported along the existing Ba Roads shipping route to Amex’s Lautoka port site.

Two barge loads will be shipped each day, replacing the need for capital expensive rail/road infrastructure that some other projects require.

On arrival at the port, the product will be unloaded and washed in fresh water to remove sea salt, then dried and stockpiled awaiting export to markets predominantly in Asia.

Deposits of iron sands with similar chemical characteristics have been successfully mined for over 30 years in New Zealand, for domestic steelmaking and export to Asian consumers.

Feedback:charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj



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