Pre Feasibility Study
A pre feasibility and subsequent value engineering
study were completed by ATEC PMC in 2014. The project's
maximum value is realized with the production of 2.0 MTPY of
high grade iron ore concentrates at an average
product grade of 66% Fe.
Mining by conventional open pit methods, drill and blast followed by load and haul would be employed at the mine from two open pits focussing on mineralisation in the southern and northern ore body.
The life of mine (LOM) has been modelled using the Whittle pit shell design method and will be 17 years with an annual product output of 2.0 MTPY of high grade concentrates and an average ROM plant feed of 4.7 MTPY. The total tons mined will be 211 million tons of which 76 million tons will be ROM plant feed.
Ore processing will make use of conventional technologies to upgrade the ROM
ore to a high grade concentrate (66% Fe).
A power supply study completed by Nampower in 2014 shows that the project can tie into the 400 kV Auas (Namibia’s largest power distribution substation) via a conventional 33kV transmission line less than 40 km from the Auas substation. A total of 16.5 MVA will be required.
A feasibility study completed by a leading Australian infrastructure consultant and Namwater in 2015 concludes that enough water is available from Oanab dam via a 90 km pipeline with all infrastructure requirements possible under current conditions.
The deep water port of Walvis Bay can dock vessels with a saltwater draft of up to 14m and vessel length of up to 250m.
The rail network in Namibia supports cape gauge rolling stock with an axle load of 16.5 tons per axle. The total network capacity can support up to 9 million tons of freight per year with a current utilization of only 1.5 million tons.
A leading South African based logistics consultant completed a mine to port feasibility study in 2014. The study yielded several solutions that can be implemented with immediate effect. Fixed and feasible CAPEX and OPEX estimations were supplied to transport up to 2.0 MTPY of high-grade iron ore concentrate from the mine site to the deep-water port of Walvis Bay.
The optimized Value Engineering Study yielded extremely attractive project economics for simultaneous production of iron ore concentrates and niche products. The product suit will be made up of CTL catalyst feedstock, Hematite oxidant for the Uranium industry in Namibia and high-grade
CAPEX - Mining project capital expenditure will be 184.5 million USD with an expected payback of less than 3 years. Making this project a low risk investment.
OPEX - LOM freight on board (FOB) cash cost will be less than 45 USD/dmt of 66% Fe concentrate which yields unusually high cash operating margins.
The significant cash generating potential of niche products was further confirmed by the completion of a bankable feasibility study (BFS) for a pure Magnetite product done by VBKom in 2016. This BFS is being reshaped to include the production of a 1.0 MTPY of high grade concentrate (66% Fe) in addition to the CTL magnetite catalyst and hematite fines for use as a Uranium oxidant.
CAPEX - Mining project capital expenditure for this phase of the project will be 35 million USD with an expected payback of less than 2 years.
OPEX - Freight on board (FOB) cash cost from the port of Walvis Bay will be 49 USD/dmt of 66% Fe concentrate. he significant cash generation from this phase of the project allows the larger plant to be developed in parallel to the existing operation.
A total of 10 MVA is being estimated for this phase of the project. The total demand will be supplied from a combination of existing network supply on the mine site, solar power and diesel power generation.
The total water requirement for this phase of the project will be taken from groundwater sources as determined by a leading global environmental and mining consulting company. Water sources will be monitored to ensure sustainable use of the resource.
Lodestone is currently in negotiations with the Namibian port authorities and a third-party service provider for a low CAPEX solution that would allow up to 1.0 MTPY to be moved through the port as is. Vessel sizes being targeted are either 65,000 tons or 80,000 tons of bulk.
This portion of the logistics chain will be intermodal making use of rail and road with minimal enabling infrastructure investment required.
Several rounds of extensive metallurgical testing have been completed by SGS laboratories and SGA in Germany on a pilot scale and representative of the first 10 years of mining. Lodestone can produce exceptionally pure (low Si, Al, Ti and Vd) and high grade concentrates at mass yields over 40% of ROM feed.