TORMIN MINERAL SANDS PROJECT
Situated on South Africa’s west coast, approximately 400kms north of Cape Town, Tormin is a World-Class placer beach mineral sands deposit, hosting some of the richest concentrated grades of naturally occurring zircon, ilmenite, rutile, magnetite and garnet.
Tormin is a unique deposit due to the process and speed of which the mineral sands are replenished. Through the naturally occuring tidal actions of the Atlantic ocean, high-grade mineral sands are continually re-deposited on the shores of Tormin mining tenement, a process Mineral Commodities is able to leverage from, maximising mineral yield, whilst minimising the environmental impact.
Since commencement, the Company has mined circa 4.5 million tonnes at greater than 5% contained zircon. This tonnage and grade exceeds the original LOM stated in the JORC Resources and Reserve statement and is consistent with the beach replenishment process which is currently occurring. The updated 2015 Inferred JORC Resource and Reserve confirms that 1.8 million tonnes of material at a 28.08% Heavy Mineral is remaining.
The Company has recently acquired the rights to the offshore area adjacent to Tormin. This area is the source of Tormin ore body and, supported by the geographical J-Bay features of the area, supports the concept of replenishment mining which will substantially extend the Tormin life of mine.
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For the full year to 31 December 2016, 1,807,750 Run of Mine (“ROM”) ore tonnes was mined at the Tormin Project, being approximately 3.8% above budget, with an overall HMC grade of 45.96%.
The above budget performance of the mining operations continued throughout the year, dealing with the nature of mining a beach subject to tides and surf. Mining rates increased throughout the year consistent with a falling ROM Valuable Heavy Mineral (“VHM”) grade.
Towards the end of the year, the Company purchased specialised amphibious excavation equipment which will allow it to mine the seaward extremities of its current Mining Rights resource boundaries. The equipment is due to arrive on site in the first quarter of 2017, and will allow almost continuous mining in the inter-tidal high and low water zones. This equipment will also be used for resource sampling and grade control in previously inaccessible areas.
The two Tailings Scavenger Plants (“TSPs”) and the GSP were commissioned midway through the year on scheduled time and budget, with all plants achieving above design throughput and availability shortly thereafter. The Primary Beach Concentrators (“PBCs”) feed rate and operating hours were both above budget for the year. However, total HMC produced through the two PBC’s of 482,383 tonnes was below budget due to lower ROM feed grade and recoveries.
The two TSPs produced an additional 104,653 tonnes of HMC, being 57% above budget for the year. The Company processed 658,857 tonnes through the GSP/SCP for the year, which was slightly below budget. During the year, the Company re-treated 49,581 tonnes of previously stockpiled Ilmenite concentrate to extract excess Zircon and to upgrade the final Ilmenite concentrate product.
The Company also trialled the refeed of 16,109 tonnes of Garnet concentrate to extract excess Zircon content. GSP/SCP plant feed grade and recoveries were below budget, resulting in lower than budget non-magnetic Zircon/Rutile concentrate production of 35,813 tonnes.
The reduction in non-magnetic Zircon/Rutile concentrate production is directly related to the diminishing grade of Zircon in the ROM VHM grade. Annual Ilmenite and Garnet concentrate production to 31 December 2016 was 211,704 tonnes and 270,802 tonnes respectively.