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Greenland reduces civil construction costs by 44%

ASX-listed rare earth element developer Greenland Minerals continues to optimise its massive Kvanefjeld project in southern Greenland with recent engineering studies shaving off 44% of the civil construction costs to USD$175m.

The savings were achieved through substantial reductions in civil earthworks for site preparation, an updated port design by specialist groups and greater use of local materials.

In January, the company completed an optimised design of port facilities located near the town of Narsaq that includes the use of “open cell technology” for the bulk head/sea wall construction of the port, as it delivered the lowest cost and least construction risk.

Greenland also refined and optimised the process plant and site infrastructure ground footprint at the proposed mine in October last year, drastically reducing the volume of material disturbance by 80% from the 2016 feasibility study estimate.

Management added that work on the process plant optimisation, which includes both the concentrator circuit and refinery circuit, is nearing completion by the collaboration between Shenghe Resources Holding Co Ltd and leading Chinese technical institutes.

The company said that major improvements to the concentrator and refinery circuits were achieved and that validation of the new concentrator performance is being carried out by current metallurgical test work.

Greenland has completed an updated process engineering design of the concentrator, which includes the production of a high‐grade concentrate, while improvements to the refinery flowsheet are also being incorporated into an optimised process design. 

The increased concentrate grade is expected to reduce the size of processing equipment required in the refinery.

Recent met test work achieved recoveries exceeding 80% and impressive concentrate grades above 22% rare earth oxide content, well above the 14% grade used in Greenland’s Kvanefjeld feasibility study.

Greenland expects to provide further updates on the capital and operating costs of an optimised feasibility study in the second quarter of this year.

Kvanefjeld has a resource inventory of 1.01 billion tonnes containing 11.14 million tonnes total rare earth oxides, 593 million pounds of uranium and 2.25 million tonnes of zinc.

This is enough ore to underpin a mine life of 37 years and the project is expected to be an important global supplier of heavy rare earth magnet metals like dysprosium.

Earlier this month, the company signed a memorandum of understanding with the municipal authority for the region of southern Greenland, which includes Narsaq and the Kvanefjeld Project areas and the Kujalleq Business Council.

This MoU established the three parties plan to support the Impact Benefit Agreement that is part of the mining licence application for the project.

In April 2016, Greenland reported that CAPEX costs for the Kvanefjeld project amounted to USD$832m, so the 44% decrease in civil construction costs alone will have a noticeable effect on the original five-year payback period for the operation.

The expected reduction in the size of processing equipment required in the refinery could deliver further cost reductions, which will increase the attractiveness of the high margin Kvanefjeld project.

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