Northern Territory Greenlights Major Australian Vanadium Project
The Northern Territory (NT) in Australia has signed a key project facilitation agreement with the Australian resource company TNG for a $850million mining resource project.
The Mount Peake Vanadium-Titanium-Iron Project, which will generate more than 17000 construction jobs, will be a state of the art metals processing facility located in the Alice Springs area of Northern Territory, Australia.
TNG’s Managing Director Paul Burton said the signing of the Project Facilitation Agreement with the NT Government marked another exciting milestone for the Mount Peake Project as it continued to advance towards development.
“The project has already been awarded Major Project Status in the Northern Territory, and this agreement is a further indication of the proactive and positive approach which the Northern Territory Government is adopting to help facilitate the development of this major new Australian resource project,” he said.
The $850m Mount Peake Iron-Vanadium-Titanium Project
First discovered in in 2008 when TNG outlined a magnetite-bearing gabbro containing high-grade vanadium, titanium and iron. The mineralisation commences at shallow depths making the deposit readily amenable to open pit mining.
The PFA covers plans to develop the TIVAN metals refinery.
TIVAN is a new process designed primarily for extracting vanadium, preferably as vanadium pentoxide, from a titano-magnetite ore body, (a geological igneous rock formation that contains significant quantities of iron, titanium and vanadium), and also for separating the titanium and iron preferably as ferric oxide and titanium dioxide,
It is a unique method of extracting vanadium, with the original method consisting of a salt-roasting energy intensive, pyro metallurgical process.
Vanadium is described by TNG as “miracle metal”, used to impart strength, hardness and water resistance to steel, in the manufacture of titanium alloys used in jet engines, airframes and other high-end specialty materials, and in the chemical industry, notably in batteries, plastic, glass and pigments.
Steel accounts for over 85 percent of vanadium demand, with consumption predicted to increase at similar rates to the growth of the global steel industry – driven by the rapid expansion of the Chinese economy and growing per capita use and intensity of use of steel in the BRIC economies (Brazil, Russia, India and China).
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Anglo American: FutureSmart Mining
Anglo American’s approach to technology, digitalisation and sustainability is changing the nature of the way the company mines. These are the step-change innovations that will transform the nature of mining – how the company sources, mines, processes, moves and markets its products – and how its stakeholders experience that business. Anglo American is transforming its physical and societal footprint with FutureSmart Mining.
“FutureSmart Mining is our innovation-led approach to sustainable mining,” Anglo American’s Tom McCulley told Mining Gllobal. In his role as CEO for Anglo American Peru & Group Head of Projects he has overseen investment of more than $5bn at the company’s Quellaveco copper project in Peru.
“These are the step-change innovations that will transform the nature of mining – how we source, mine, process, move and market our products – and how our stakeholders experience our business. It’s about transforming our physical and societal footprint.”
Anglo is undertaking a feasibility study to assess the possibility of rolling out one of its FutureSmart technologies, Coarse Particle Recovery (CPR), at Quellaveco. “CPR crushes particles to 2.5 times larger than normal, reducing energy consumption and mill time, leading to a 20% increase in throughput and 85% water recovery - a key issue in Peru given the concerns around water scarcity,” says McCulley.
“By allowing water to release from the much coarser particles, CPR will reduce the risks associated with wet tailings and ultimately help eliminate them altogether. When combined with low cost additives, it is possible to dewater residual waste and produce dry stackable tailings. This technology remains a focus area for us as water sent to tailings facilities often represents the largest water loss at a mine.”
Quellaveco is going to be the first mine to run the FutureSmart operating model from day one. Anglo’s idea is to build a stable base on which it can layer new technologies, CPR being one of them.
“We will also be a fully digital mine, which brings us future benefits in terms of understanding and applying changes in real time,” adds McCulley. “Our trucks and our drills will be automation-ready. We have taken the approach that, when we decide to move into an autonomous operation, no jobs will be lost, but the nature of some people’s jobs will have to change.”
FutureSmart is a blend of technology and sustainability,” said McCulley in an interview with Global Business Reports. “If you go back to the vision and design of Quellaveco, it has really been focused on the long-term sustainability of the mine through effective use of things like water, energy and the environment. Quellaveco has been focused on technology such as automation, with digital and analytical tools all coming together. We will be looking at future technologies to bolt on as we go to ensure that we are optimizing the sustainable use of resources and remaining cost-effective.”
Anglo American’s Quellaveco copper project in Peru has created 15,000 jobs during construction and approximately 2,500 jobs are planned for operations, increasing Peru’s copper production by a forecast 300,000 tonnes per year. The mine’s first copper production is expected in 2022. To learn more about Anglo American's Quellaveco copper project read our feature here.