NEW YORK Atlantic Ltd. is proposing an Australian $130-million ($122.1-million) restructuring of its Windimurra vanadium operations in Western Australia aimed at addressing "production bottlenecks."
The rebuilt facility would have a production capacity of 4,800 to 5,200 tonnes of contained vanadium per year, well below Windimurras previous nameplate capacity of 6,300 tonnes, the Perth, Australia-based company said.
The proposal is the result of a technical review by Atlantic staff and external engineering advisors (amm.com, March 24) following a fire in the beneficiation plant in February that has halted vanadium production for an expected 12 months (amm.com, Feb. 11).
"The primary production bottleneck identified in the extensive engineering study undertaken by Amec (Australia Pty Ltd.) relates to the inability of the plant to reliably produce sufficient magnetite concentrate feed to match the capacity of the downstream refinery," the company said.
"After significant review and input from the companys technical team, Amecs recommended course of action involves a revision to the Windimurra process flow sheet which includes replacing the existing secondary and tertiary crushers and high pressure grinding rolls with a semi-autogenous grinding (SAG) mill. SAG mill technology is used throughout the world to process a wide variety of ore bodies and was used successfully by the previous operator of the Windimurra project," it said. "A review of the existing mine plan by AMC Consultants Pty Ltd. indicates that it is likely to be more efficient for the company to adopt a more-shallow-pit scenario, with a reduced waste-to-ore ratio, which more closely matches the feed requirements of the processing plant."
The company will require additional funding to implement the proposed restructuring, which Atlantic said it will seek from stakeholders as well as from the sale of production inventory and production during the ramp-up phase.
"Atlantic is currently in discussions with its stakeholders regarding this additional required funding as well as an appropriate longer-term capital structure for the business," the company said. "Assuming the availability of adequate capital and the ongoing support of its stakeholders, the company believes these solutions can be implemented within the next 12 months. This separate project work will not delay the reconstruction of the beneficiation plant in any way or extend the period of business interruption insurance coverage, which is expected to continue in parallel."
Atlantic said last month that demolition of the beneficiation plant was 70-percent complete (amm.com, June 30).