Following the appointment early in 2017 of new independent directors to the Kasbah Resources Ltd (Kasbah) board, Kasbah engaged AMC Consultants Ltd (AMC) to undertake a technical review of the definitive feasibility study for the Small Start Option (2016 SSO DFS) at the Achmmach Tin Project in Morocco.
The AMC review was completed in June 2017 and highlighted a number of opportunities to reduce project risk in order to substantiate the economics of the project.
In September 2017, Kasbah engaged Lycopodium ADP (a South Africa-based subsidiary of Lycopodium, which provides a complete range of engineering services for projects in mining and minerals processing industries), to undertake further engineering studies to incorporate the opportunities identified in the AMC technical review. This work is being undertaken as the 2017 Definitive Feasibility Study (2017 DFS).
The Achmmach project remains technically and commercially viable and is one of the most advanced tin projects globally with a mineral resource of approximately 15 million t, an Ore Reserve of 6.5 million t and a 10-year mine life with significant prospectivity both along strike and at depth. Kasbah also owns 100% of an advanced tin exploration prospect, Bou El Jaj, located 13 km to the south of Achmmach.
Several project optimisation opportunities that have the potential to materially improve the project and reduce project risk have been identified. These are primarily in relation to site infrastructure, grinding, comminution and ore sorting. Test work associated with realising the opportunities identified has commenced and the revised DFS will be completed in the first half of 2018.
In the course of the work performed by Kasbah and its consultants since the AMC review, Kasbah is considering some key changes to the 2016 SSO DFS at the Achmmach Tin Project.
Key changes addressing AMC’s findings and recommendations, and additional considerations by Kasbah that have the potential to significantly de-risk and improve project economics include:
- A move away from a strategy of mining high-grade ore in the initial years to reduce mining risk associated with defining higher-grade areas. As a result:
- Entech Mining Consultants were engaged to revise the mining schedules and geotechnical parameters in the mine design.
- There has been a departure from a staged start up using modularised equipment, to a plant that will commence with a capacity of 750 000 tpa.
- A move away from the use of EDS mills to a conventional rod and ball mill configuration. As part of this change consideration is being given to the use of high pressure grinding roll (HPGR) technology to replace a rod mill. HPGRs have the potential to significantly reduce power consumption and grinding media costs. In addition, HPGRs could replace the third stage of crushing and reduce the overall size and cost of the ball mill configuration.
- A change to the plant location and layout to shorten haul distances from the mine.
- A review of the Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) design and location. Golder was engaged and has managed the drilling of targeted geotechnical drill holes and trenching at the TSF location, to confirm local geology and the geotechnical parameters necessary to build the facility.
- A change to the gravity separation process, whereby coarse and fines spiral feed will be treated independently rather than being combined.
- Introduction of ore sorting at the front of the processing plant. Ore sorting technology has progressed significantly over recent years with improved sensors and computing capacity and has the potential to increase the grade of ore entering the separation processes and as a result increase the recovery of tin in those circuits and lower operating costs. Ore sorting has been successfully trialled at the Renison tin mine in Tasmania highlighting the successful application of ore sorting technology specifically in a tin processing application.
- Re-assessment of reagent and consumable use and unit costs.
The Kasbah board and the project’s JV partners (20% Toyota Tsusho Corp and 5% Nittetsu Mining Co. Ltd) have endorsed a three-month test work programme to ensure that any optimisation opportunities are well understood ahead of their inclusion in the project scope.
As a result of the ongoing work, the 2017 DFS will be completed in H1 2018 after which Kasbah will provide an update to the market.