This is our third newsletter and wraps up our work for 2013. Our letters are quarterly. We hope to cover a positive commentary of our activities and developments in 2014
Extended field trips in remote areas have been postponed in favour of shorter day trips and some collaborative work at the BSMEC in Cox’s Bazar, Dhaka University and Jahangir Nagir University
In this section we have continued with information on the benefits of a Pilot Plant with some comments on land generation after sand processing. Our external article is about the Mineral Sand Mining of Orissa beach which is similar to Teknaf- Cox’s Bazar beach. We have continued our market report as follows.
On behalf of Premier Minerals Limited I would like to wish you a very happy new year.
October to December news...
After hosting a Chinese delegation in July, a reciprocal visit to China was made in October for discussions and presentations. We see a positive outcome and more participation in the future.
We visited Teknaf peninsular and outlined the most potential 70 hectare area for a pilot plant within our 350 hectare designated demonstration area. We have postponed field trips to the Island and River exploration areas in favour of next year due to unseasonal adverse weather.
Our annual technical report covering work to date in Bangladesh is being finalized and this year’s data added for circulation from January.
Fieldwork was conducted in the Teknaf region and laboratory work has continued at the BSMEC and Dhaka University as well as Jahangir Nagir University where mineralogy through grain count is being analysed.
Our Air Core Drill will be commissioned over the next few months with a new compressor unit and a vehicle will be purchased in order to run this operation.
Next year we hope to pursue our ambitions to work closely with government organizations who are an integral part of Bangladesh’s mineral sands project. Further investment in machinery and human resources in collaboration with these organizations will be made in order to achieve a future of mining in Bangladesh.
Market review of sand minerals
Prices for Zircon and Rutile are still in slight decline and Ilmenite or titanium concentrate has experienced a very slight increased over the last three months.
New research from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in London says that the metals and mining super cycle is slowing but is not over.
Demand from China will continue and although it is likely to be slower it will be from a larger base. This demand coupled with ongoing global urbanisation and structural factors such as higher energy and extraction costs will continue to support prices of commodities in the medium term.
The report explains that while cost control has become the leading factor in the industry which is driving down capital expenditure too, some miners are investing in preparation for an expected upturn.
Iluka Resources has completed the acquisition of the exploration tenement located near the city of Puttalam in the North Western Province of Sri Lanka. Iluka intends to commence feasibility work shortly in relation to the potential development of the deposit and is progressing the appointment of a project development team.
BASE Resources has reached a milestone in the development if its USD$305 million Kwale Mineral Sands project in Kenya with the start of ore processing. The company plans to ramp up mining and processing rates over the coming weeks to increase concentrate stockpiles before commissioning of the mineral separation plant (MSP) next month.
Information on product development in Bangladesh
It should be noted that prices are all dependent on the quality of the product, such as any impurities and the grain size of the mineral. The above prices are for refined Zircon, Rutile and an Ilmenite concentrate of 46%. Our ilmenite particularly needs to consistently reach this grade and further research work is being carried out to attain this quality.
Further research into our concentrate will take place with the advent of a local bulk testing facility. Soon we will be able to more accurately determine market demand and value for the Bangladesh Mineral Suite.
Internal Article: Land Regeneration after Sand Processing
In 2009 an inter-ministerial committee recommended the use of 350 hectares in area B and C for a demonstration pilot plant. This would show the environmental impact of beach sand processing. What would this area look like now if we had started at the beginning of 2011? How much area would have been used by now and how much of the area would have been rehabilitated? What would the rehabilitated area look like?
The question arises as to what to restore? Is it merely a question of restoring the land to the pre-mining condition, should it be a replica of what we found before we started? Or should it me more like how the natural environment should be before human habitation. In the case of the Teknaf peninsular the dune area is a critical barrier between the sea and civilization, this rehabilitation can be seen as a real opportunity to enhance and protect this area.
The dune ecosystem and drainage system is an important part of the preservation of the coastal beach environment. This is currently in a depleted condition. Enforcement of a nature strip along the beachside, initially regenerated through sand mining could save the erosional affects currently affecting the area.
How can we provide benefits to this land though the sand processing opportunity? How can we help protect the 90 kilometres of coastline from erosion or the adjacent land from exposure to salinity? Can we work on a plan for a nature strip between the beach and civilization? Is there room for a marine drive and tourism resorts right on the beach?
The demonstration pilot plant would require about 1 hectare at any one time and would move forward each month by about ¼ of a hectare, behind would leave a regenerated new area. This land could be used for recreational purposes and tourism or sustainable agriculture with permanent plantations such as fruit and medicinal trees that stabilize and reduce soil disturbance. Currently most of this land is government owned.
These dunes will create a natural barrier to increased violent weather and any sea level rises in future years to come. The land needs to be built up, dunes re-established and correctly maintained for future generations
Premier Minerals Limited in conjunction with the Government is intent on working with the best people in regards to saving the beach environment and protecting it for future generations.
OSCOM (ORISSA SANDS COMPLEX), a sister organization of Indian Rare Earths Limited (IREL) was commissioned at Chatrapur about 150 Kms from the Capital of Orissa – Bhubaneswar, in India to exploit the huge placer deposit across a mining area of 24.64sq.km in order to produce 220,000 ton of ilmenite (50% TiO2 content) and associated minerals like rutile, zircon, sillimanite, garnet, etc. It has been efficiently engaged in dredging of the raw sand, upgrading, drying and final separation of the Ilmenite which is primarily exported to customers engaged in production of slag and sulphatable TiO2 pigment. A Thorium plant has been in operation since 1992 at OSCOM to produce 240 ton per annum mantle grade Thorium Nitrate.
PML’s Views: Bangladesh has similar Mineral Sand Deposits at Teknaf –Cox’s Bazar coastal beach which lies at the eastern coast of Bay of Bengal; and Orissa Mineral Sands are lying just on the other side i.e; at the western coast of Bay of Bengal. With the correct environmental procedures a similar plant could be developed in Bangladesh which would benefit the local community and the country.