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News

Australian Mines has raised $20 million in a share placement to advance its Sconi cobalt-nickel-scandium project in north Queensland and its Flemington project in New South Wales.

The company is undertaking a bankable feasibility study (BFS), due to ​be completed in April 2018, for the Sconi project.

In support of the BFS, Australian Mines is continuing trial mining and is also constructing a demonstration-size processing plant that will be capable of producing commercial-grade samples of cobalt sulphate, nickel sulphate and scandium oxide.

These samples will be used to progress negotiations with potential off-take partners and financiers.

Australian Mines acquired 100 per cent of the project, near Greenvale west of Townsville, for $10 million cash and shares in a deal with joint venture partner Metallica Minerals in September.

The Sconi project consists of five deposits - Greenvale, Lucknow, Bell Creek, Minnamoolka and Kokomo, with granted mining leases covering all key deposits.

Funds injection for Sconi project
First concentrate production is ‘imminent’ at the Capricorn Copper operation, 120km north of Mount Isa, as a $110 million restart project comes to a head.

“The construction projects have wound up. Most of the major contractors have demobilised,” chief executive officer/managing director Carl Hallion said.

“There is still a project construction presence out there, but it is much smaller and mainly focused on commissioning and operations activity.

“Our full operating crews are in place and we’re running through those final commissioning activities at the moment.”

Lighthouse Minerals and EMR Capital took control of the mothballed Mount Gordon operation from former owner Aditya Birla in October 2015 to restart mining as Capricorn Copper.

Capricorn Copper is expected to produce about 30,000 tonnes of copper in concentrate per annum over a period of 10 years.

As the operation comes online this month, Mr Hallion says the timing has been fantastic for the new owners.

“The commodity cycle has gone pretty well and I think everyone is on the same page that most metals – and copper in particular – are starting to look pretty good,” he said.

Timing shines for new copper operation
Three 1200-tonne beneficiation modules have arrived on site and another three are due this month for construction of the processing facility at Rio Tinto's Amrun bauxite project.

West Australian supplier Civmec was awarded the $160 million contract to construct the beneficiation plant and associated water, electrical and lighting systems for the project.

Fabrication, pre-cast manufacture and assembly work for the new facility have been taking place at Civmec’s Henderson facility in Perth, Western Australia.

About 350 employees including subcontractors have been employed to work on fabrication and another 120 on module assembly.

“Fabrication of these components has showcased best practice Australian manufacturing using 4000 tonnes of Australian steel," Rio Tinto Amrun project director Marcia Hanrahan said.

“Construction of the processing facility has created hundreds of jobs in Western Australia, in addition to our current Amrun workforce of around 1200 in Queensland.

“Almost 80 per cent of the Amrun workforce are Queenslanders, including 176 indigenous employees, of which 43 are local Aboriginal people.

"We are proud of the supplier and employment opportunities we have created for Australians and there will be more to come.”

The beneficiation modules will form the central facility of the plant where bauxite from the Amrun mine will be washed and screened onsite before being shipped to customers.

In October a heavy load vessel transported three beneficiation modules and a transfer tower into the Port of Weipa.

The modules each weigh more than 1200 tonnes, with dimensions of up to 16m wide, 25m long and 30m high.

The remaining three modules are currently being fabricated in Perth and will arrive in mid-November.

Massive modules arrive for Amrun processing plant

Burdekin Shire Council has approved CleanGen Projects' plan to develop the $280 million Burdekin Solar Farm at Clare.

The 140MW solar farm, to be developed on a 227ha site at Ayr Dalbeg Rd, is expected to create up to 400 construction jobs and 10 operational roles.

Burdekin Shire Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said the CleanGen Projects solar farm represented a major investment in the shire and in the Burdekin’s potential as a solar energy powerhouse.

“The Burdekin, with its abundant sunshine and available land, is very well positioned to accommodate this type of new and exciting industry," she said.

“Our Council is all for growing the Burdekin and diversification will ensure growth in employment and a sustainable economy into the future.”

It is the fifth large-scale solar farm to gain approval in the Burdekin Shire.

CleanGen Projects managing director Koovashni Reddy said the solar farm included battery storage and would connect to the local grid.

“The battery storage will help produce power when the sun doesn’t shine and assist with grid stability services,” Ms Reddy said.

She said the project would offer apprenticeships to train local youth and would also be encouraging employment opportunities for women during the construction and operational phases.

Green light for $280m Burdekin Solar Farm
Malachite Resources expects first gold production from its Lorena project in north-west Queensland around mid-December.

In a quarterly report released this week the company said mining at the site had commenced.

Commissioning of fixed concentrator plant was commencing and commissioning of the CIL plant was due to start about November 20, it said.

It is expected that the Lorena Gold Project will produce around 30,000 to 35,000 ozs of recovered gold in 18 months of production.

First Lorena gold due in December
Melior Resources says it plans to restart operations at its Goondicum ilmenite mine near Monto and has an agreement in principle with Pala Investments for provision of a US$5.25 million loan facility.

With this commitment from Pala in place, Melior said it would look to secure the remaining US$5 million required to commence the restart of the Goondicum ilmenite mine as quickly as possible.

The company said its decision to restart operations at Goondicum was based on a number of factors, including strong project economics, recovery of ilmenite prices and a positive outlook for the sector given expected GDP economic growth in China and the likely constraints in additional supply for the foreseeable future.

Melior looks to restart ilmenite mine