Mineral sands developer Strandline Resources is rapidly pursuing development of its 100%-owned, zircon-rich Fungoni mineral sands project in Tanzania.
This follows the release of the results from a drilling campaign in January, which significantly increased the contained heavy mineral (HM) of the mineral resource estimate, improved JORC classification and confirmed the sizable extent of the high-grade portion of the deposit favourably positioned at surface.
The infill and extension drilling was successful in growing the Fungoni mineral resource by 45% to 16 Mt grading at 3.1% total heavy mineral (THM), compared to previous estimate of 11 Mt grading 3.1% THM.
The drilling also confirmed the sizable extent of the high-grade portion of the deposit favourably positioned at surface.
Feasibility study accelerated
Strandline Resources has ramped up its engineering feasibility activities following the successful mineral resource estimate update and is now focused on definitive level feasibility work aimed at defining the optimal mining and processing solutions for the project, while concurrently progressing the project approvals process.
The main objective of the Fungoni feasibility study is to further define, de-risk and maximise economics of the project adequate to support the company’s final investment decision to proceed into project execution.
Strandline Resources is targeting completion of the feasibility study and achievement of a positive final investment decision in the third quarter 2017, with the view to ultimately realise its near-term production goal of the second half of 2018.
Mining study under way
Strandline has selected highly experienced and reputable consulting companies, with proven mineral sands and African project expertise, to deliver the definitive-level study programme.
Mining adviser, AMC Consultants, have commenced the mining study package aimed at producing an optimised high-grade ore reserve, mine plan and mining method.
Auxiliary engineering packages relating to hydrogeology, hydrology, geotechnics and tails storage facility design have been scoped for commencement from February 2017.
In terms of the metallurgy and process plant, the engineering design concept is based on a fit-for-purpose transportable modular process plant using proven innovative mineral sands technology and safe-design principles.
Bulk metallurgical testwork has commenced at TZMI’s Allied Mineral Laboratories (AML) to define the optimal process flow sheet and produce product samples for marketing. The test work programme will consider several mineral separation routes and target production of titanium and zircon concentrate products for the mature global heavy mineral sands market.
GR Engineering Services, an ASX-listed specialist mineral processing engineering procurement and construction contractor, has been appointed to manage and integrate the overall feasibility study packages and develop the most economical process plant and infrastructure solutions for the project.
Project logistics, port infrastructure and transport options are being investigated with logistics providers in order to further refine the most practical mine-to-market supply chain.
Regulatory project approvals
Strandline Resources is actively progressing the Fungoni project approvals process with the immediate priority on achieving environment approval and land access agreements.
The company performed the environmental baseline survey and lodged the preliminary environmental impact assessment (EIA) with the Tanzanian environmental regulatory authority in July 2016.
The National Environment Management Council has progressed the Fungoni environmental evaluation process and concluded a formal field inspection by the Technical Audit Committee (TAC) in September 2016.
The company is now in the process of updating the EIA document for re-submission to the NEMC.
Financial advisory firm, Argonaut Capital has been engaged to support the company’s financial assessment and strategic planning in relation to commercialising the Fungoni project.
“Strandline is focussed on delivering an optimised and robust feasibility study outcome and positioning the Fungoni project favourably for a seamless transition into the execution phase,” says Strandline Resources MD and CEO Luke Graham.
“The company has assembled a highly experienced and motivated team of mineral sands professionals across the various aspects of the study, including recently making several senior in-house appointments to drive the development activities.
“Strandline is excited by the near term project potential of Fungoni as well as concurrently progressing the company’s other strategic exploration and project development pursuits in Tanzania and Australia.”