HomeIndustrial MineralsUS$100m savings at Abu Dabbab tantalum project

US$100m savings at Abu Dabbab tantalum project

Aerial view of
Gippsland’s Abu Dabbab
tantalum deposit in
London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 17 June 2008 – Gippsland Limited – an Australian-based company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and the AIM – is introducing significant cost-saving changes to its 40 million tonne Abu Dabbab tantalum-tin project in Egypt, which is expected to become a major supplier to the international tantalum industry.

A project update released here revealed that re-location of the plant site to within 1km of the open pit mine, plus the use of seawater, would result in operating cost savings of US$5 million (R38 million) a year over the 20-year life of the mine.

In the original design, the Abu Dabbab plant-site was situated 5km from the Red Sea coast and 20km from the mine-site. This design entailed the installation of a large seawater desalination plant from which waste brine was to be injected into saline coastal aquifers at a depth of approximately 200m. Ongoing technical improvements have resulted in the company being able to use mainly raw seawater, and desalinated water will only be required for the final stages of the process.

This use of seawater will result in a capital cost saving of approximately US$4 million (R30 million) and an operating cost saving of approximately US$900,000 (almost R7 million) per year or US$18 million (R136 million) over the likely 20 year Abu Dabbab mine life.

As a result of the recent decision to use seawater for the process plant, the injection of waste desalination brine has become unnecessary, which in turn enables the plant-site to be relocated to within 1km of the open pit mine. This change will reduce the 2 million tonne per year ore haulage distance by some 19km, thereby eliminating the need for a heavy haulage road fleet while reducing haulage costs by approximately US$4 million R30 million) per year. The road between the mine and the Red Sea coast will now become an access road that does not need to cater for use by heavy ore haulage vehicles.