Sheffield Resources has signed two agreements that will advance and de-risk development of the Thunderbird Mineral Sands Project in northern Western Australia.
The project is located on the Dampier Peninsula, about 60km west of Derby, and 25km north of the sealed Great Northern Hwy, approximately half way between Derby and Broome, in northern Western Australia.
The first agreement is an A$366m ($263m) fixed price, lump sum EPC contract with GR Engineering Services (GRES) for the design and construction of the Thunderbird mineral processing plant, supporting infrastructure and associated facilities.
The second agreement relates to a $175m (A$240m) fully underwritten, syndicated facility agreement with Taurus Mining Finance Fund and Taurus Mining Finance Annex Fund (Taurus) for a seven-year term loan.
Under the EPC contract, GRES will design and construct a 7.5mtpa Stage 1 mineral processing plant and supporting infrastructure.
The contract provides for the turnkey delivery of the project’s processing infrastructure, including process design engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning and performance testing over a construction and commissioning period of two years, with commencement likely in the second quarter of 2019.
Engineering and design activities taken up by GRES in 2018 and reviewed by Taurus and its independent technical expert has enabled Sheffield to assess design developments focussed on increasing throughput, operational efficiencies and the functionality of the processing plant.
By the end of September 2018, 30% of design and engineering work has been completed and the structural engineering is nearing completion and detailed engineering is underway.
GR Engineering’s scope of work under the contract includes engineering design, procurement, construction, commissioning and testing of all process and non-process infrastructure for the project, including a wet concentrate plant, mineral separation plant, low temperature roasting plant, administration buildings, bore fields and high voltage power distribution, in addition to civil scope items.
GRES will also provide operations support for a six-month term after completion.
Based on the construction and commissioning schedule, first zircon products are expected to be delivered during commissioning in the last quarter of calendar 2020, and first ilmenite products during the second quarter of calendar 2021.
Image: Wet Connector design. Photo: Courtesy of Sheffield Resources.