Project Development

With our aim to become the premier supplier of quality high Purity alumina, we are undertaking a thorough study program to ensure that our processing route is reliable and robust. Our timeline to commissioning is currently:

  • Scoping level metallurgical test work – Completed – Read the full ASX announcement.
  • JORC Resource – Completed – Read the full ASX announcement.
  • Pre-feasibility Study – Completed – Read the full ASX announcement.
  • Definitive Feasibility Study – expected completion Q3, 2019
  • Construction commencing – expected Q1, 2020
  • Commissioning commencing – expected 2022

Pre-feasibility Study (PFS)

The results of the Pre-feasibility Study (PFS) showed very strong financial and technical results. The financial results were:

Annual HPA Production 8,000 tpa +99.99% Al2O3
Capital Cost* $271 million (incl contingencies of $53m)
Capital Cost per t of HPA $33,875 based on 8,000 tpa HPA
Average Cost of Production $7,668 /tonne of HPA
Forecast Sale Price $25,200 /tonne
Average EBITDA $133m per annum
Payback Period 4.1 years
Project NPV @ 10% $692m
IRR 34%

* All monetary amounts are in USD

The PFS results are underpinned by:

  • a substantial high-grade kaolin resource near Ballarat, Victoria that contains low levels of deleterious impurities;
  • a shallow open pit mine design with low stripping ratios, which can be efficiently contract mined without blasting, crushing or grinding;
  • simple beneficiation by screening the kaolin ore at the mine site to remove 57% of the ore mass comprising mainly coarse silica, upgrading the ore to a 35% kaolin concentrate for transport to the hydrometallurgical process facility (HPF);
  • significant metallurgical test work which has defined a robust chemical process to convert Yendon kaolin to HPA. This process is based on the industry-standard process derived from the US Bureau of Mines published and public data customised by Hill End specifically for the Yendon orebody;
  • confirmation via this developed chemical process that Yendon kaolin can produce HPA exceeding 99.99% Al2O3;
  • development of a simple and effective process flow diagram using commercially proven, and largely "off the shelf", operations that result in competitive capital and operating costs to produce HPA with low environmental impact; and
  • adoption of a conservative HPA selling price of $25,200/ tonne for 99.99% HPA over the life of the project, which is at the bottom end of the current HPA market price range as established by independent market analyst Roskill.

Industry specialists

The PFS was managed by Primero, with the following industry specialists undertaking studies in their fields of expertise:

  • Metallurgical process – BHM Process Consultants
  • Metallurgical test work – ALS Laboratory Group
  • Flowsheet design – Primero
  • Capital and operating costs – Primero
  • JORC Resource – SRK Australia
  • Environmental – SRK Australia
  • Mine design – Mining Plus
  • Beneficiation plant – Primero

Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS)

The Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) will work through each aspect of the project with the aim of enabling a final investment decision in Q3 2019. The areas of focus for the DFS are:

  • look at processes to further enhance the purity levels of the HPA with the aim of achieving a 99.999% (5N) product
  • construct and operate a locked cycle pilot plant to further enhance the robustness of upscaling the process plant and also to produce HPA for testing by potential buyers
  • a location study for the hydrometallurgical process plant to optimise the operating cost of the facility
  • marketing to potential buyers with the aim of securing offtake agreements for our production
  • optimisation of the flow sheet to reduce the already low capital and operating costs
  • undertake environmental studies and commence approval processes for the mine site and processes facility