Sierra Rutile's lease in Sierra Leone is the world’s largest known deposit of natural rutile, and has been mined since the early 1960s
Plant commissioning of the Gangama dry mine project and handover from DRA Projects to Sierra Rutile was successfully completed on 31 May 2016.

Sierra Leone – Aim-listed mineral sands producer Sierra Rutile says the Gangama dry mine is now operational and producing high quality natural rutile, a high grade titanium feedstock following the plant commissioning by engineer and project delivery group DRA Projects.

Construction of Gangama dry mine commenced in April 2015 and, over a thirteen-month period, Sierra Rutile worked alongside DRA Projects to ensure that the project was completed on time and within budget.

Plant commissioning is deemed to be attained once the dry mining plant has operated and processed ore for seven consecutive days, achieving specific design criteria which includes name plate capacity of 500 tph.

This test period ran from 22 May to 29 May 2016, during which both Sierra Rutile and DRA Projects were pleased to note that feed rates and plant utilisation exceeded the design criteria. Specifically, over the seven-day period, the Gangama dry mine plant operated at an average throughput of 555 tph and 87% availability.

Steady-state operation is expected to be achieved within four months.

Next steps

Building upon the experience gained in successfully designing, constructing and operating Lanti dry mine and Gangama dry mine, Sierra Rutile remains fully engaged in process optimisation, value engineering and market evaluation of its two further near-term expansion projects, the 250 tph bolt-on units, one for each of Lanti and Gangama dry mining. Additionally, Sierra Rutile also continues to progress towards a definitive feasibility study for the Sembehun dry mine.

In addition to its existing operations, these projects will enable Sierra Rutile to continue to implement its strategy of increasing production through expansion of its dry mining operations, aligning production with anticipated customer demand in a capital efficient manner.  The near-term expansion projects will further improve Sierra Rutile’s ability to quickly respond to a market upturn.

“I am pleased to note that the Gangama dry mine was brought into production on time and within budget and that during the commissioning and plant handover process guarantee period, the plant proved the ability to outperform its nameplate capacity,” Sierra Rutile CEO John Sisay said.

DRA MD Johann de Bruin commended the DRA Project team, its construction partners and Sierra Rutile on completing the project with zero lost time injuries. “The project has been a major success for DRA and is testament to our continued growth in mineral sands as well as our expanding capabilities throughout the African continent,” he said.