This is our first Newsletter for 2014. Our letters are quarterly. We endeavour to bring you a positive insight into our developments, aspirations and plans through these newsletters..
Usually at the beginning of the year we update our technical reports for information we have collected over the previous year. Our geologists have been busy compiling this information while the engineering people have prepared equipment and re-run plans and design for installation of new bulk testing equipment.
We have made a substantial shift in our operations where we will start to focus on planning for an initial pilot plant within the coastal beach area.
The political turmoil over the New Year period has settled, and we are now starting to see a more favourable and encouraging climate in which we can develop this project for the long term benefit for both Bangladesh and Premier Minerals.
January to March news...
We have defined Bangladesh into three areas, simply, we have named them Rivers, Islands, and Beaches. In each area we have selected one example of each, being the most advanced in both government permissions and our own geological studies. For the Rivers we have concentrated on Alatuli Char in the western Padma, for the Islands its Dhal Char in the Bay of Bengal, for the Beaches, we chose the Jahajpora beach area north of Teknaf on the advice of an inter-ministerial committee’s recommendation as an initial demonstration area.
On this recommendation the EMRD has forwarded clearances to the local authorities to allow us to proceed, a 350 hectare area has been outlined, we have defined a prospective 70 hectare area and with further research we will pinpoint the most beneficial 20 hectares.
This will lead to the development of a small pilot plant where we can show the practise of responsible environmental management, demonstrate a high standard in safety and health and partner with local community to develop economic and social infrastructure. Pilot plants allow us to reduce the risk associated with construction of large sites, further design changes can be made and they provide valuable data for design of a full scale plant. We believe the pilot plant to be the first inroad into future development of richer deposits found further south and in pockets further north of the site.
Our plans are to work closely with the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) at the Beach Sand Exploration Centre through a recently signed MOU. Together a bulk testing program will help us define the commercial potential of this resource and give us valuable information for the pilot plant project. Collaborative work with the BAEC will involve further separation of the heavy mineral derived from bulk testing and the pilot plant project into commercially viable products and concentrates.
We are looking forward to an exciting 2014 where we can positively move forward. Our aim is to be transparent and comprehensible in regards to our activities and hope our new development with the Beach Sand Exploration Centre at Cox’s Bazar becomes the focal point of Mineral Sands development in the coastal areas of Bangladesh.
Further environmental studies, a bulk testing program and better understanding of new equipment are all immediate priorities in this new chapter of operations in Bangladesh for Premier.
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.
Following its recent profit report, Iluka has been out and about telling investors that the worst might well have passed.
Demand from China will continue and although it is likely to be slower it will be from a larger base.
Australia Minerals and Mining Group has signed a Heads of Agreement with engineering consultants METS Engineering for the co-operation and advancement its Glenarty Creek Mineral Sands Project in Western Australia.
In Johannesburge Mineral Commodities (MRC) on Friday officially opened its fully funded $16-million Tormin mineral sands mine project, on the West Coast of South Africa which it claimed would inject more than R1-billion a year into the Western Cape economy over the next five years. The mine, positioned some 400 km north of Cape Town, featured a “substantial” zircon-rich beach resource, providing ilmenite, rutile and garnet minerals.
Savannah is focusing on evaluating the Jangamo Heavy Mineral Sands Project in Mozambique, which is two broad mineralised zones identified with intercepts of 18m at 3.5% Total Heavy Minerals ('THM'), 24m at 3.2% THM and 10m at 2.2% received.
Internal Article – Importance of Bulk Testing and more mineralogy studies.
The most critical component in resource assessment for mineral sands is about quantifying HM grade, then mineralogical assemblage and then quality of those individual mineral. This will determine whether a mineral sand final product is marketable or not.
It is the non-magnetic heavy-mineral that have the most value, heavy sand particles that are non-magnetic. There are two major processes before further work is done to separate the individual mineral, the first being to separate the heavy minerals and then to separate various fractions of magnetic intensity. These fractions are called concentrates which can be further processed in order to separate the individual mineral or sold as is. Depending on the operational and capital costs the sale of concentrate may be a better option.
Separation under laboratory processes compared to separation for commercial purposes are much different. Minerals can be of small size or are bonded to other minerals and may not accurately separate. There is always loss when separation takes place in bulk however loss can be regained by repeating the cycles several times. Premier will start to separate in bulk and then use the laboratory to analyse the results of each fraction in order to understand and optimize the design for eventual pilot plant development.
Concentrates can be sold on the world stage as further separation of the exact mineral can be either costly or environmentally prohibitive. Some facilities exist at the BSMEC that could assist the Bangladesh domestic market for the same minerals.
Below is an image for the various stages of a bulk test showing the concentrate product, the process of gravity separation though spiral, low intensity gravity separation, wet table and further high intensity separation. Various amounts of mineral can be seen through XRF testing of some of the fractions.