OM Hold­ings

It’s been 18 months since OM Hold­ings’ Bootu Creek man­ganese mine re­opened. Now, an $8.2 mil­lion Tail­ings Re­treat­ment Plan is un­der de­vel­op­ment which is ex­pected to pro­duce an ad­di­tional 250,000 tonnes of man­ganese over the next eight years.

The Australian Mining Review - - CONTENTS - JES­SICA CUM­MINS

“Given the sig­nif­i­cant stock­piles of lower grade ore and heavy me­dia re­ject ma­te­rial, the Tail­ings Re­treat­ment Plant is ex­pected to pro­duce ap­prox­i­mately 250,000 tonnes of man­ganese fines per an­num for ap­prox­i­mately eight years.”

IN 2015, OM Hold­ings sub­sidiary OM Man­ganese’s Bootu mine was placed into the hands of ad­min­is­tra­tors as global mar­ket con­di­tions for man­ganese de­te­ri­o­rated.

It was a tough time for the mine and sur­round­ing Ten­nant Creek com­mu­nity; 140 jobs were lost when the mine was put into care and main­te­nance.

But once min­ing ac­tiv­i­ties re­sumed in Fe­bru­ary 2017, pos­i­tive sen­ti­ment and jobs re­turned to the re­gion.

OM Hold­ings be­came one of the ASX’s top per­form­ers for the year, ris­ing from 15 cents a share in Jan­uary 2017 to over a dol­lar per share by Jan­uary 2018.

OM has its fin­gers in more than min­ing; with op­er­a­tions in smelt­ing, trad­ing, and mar­ket­ing and trad­ing of ores and fer­roal­loys, the com­pany con­tin­ues to fo­cus on growth and gen­er­at­ing value from its as­sets, in­clud­ing its Bootu Creek op­er­a­tion.

Bootu Creek

Man­ganese ore pro­duc­tion for the June quar­ter of 2018 at Bootu Creek to­talled 185,600 tonnes at an av­er­age grade of 35.67 per cent man­ganese, of which 149,762t was ex­ported.

Min­ing ac­tiv­i­ties dur­ing the quar­ter con­tin­ued in the Shekuma 6B and the Chugga Far North A pits.

“Min­ing in the north­ern side of the Shekuma pit was ham­pered by nu­mer­ous fault struc­tures, ground wa­ter ingress and a foot­wall slip while Chugga Far North started to pre­sent con­tin­u­ous ore drill floors,” the com­pany said in a state­ment.

“Con­cen­tra­tion of the min­ing fleets within the east­ern limb of the Bootu Creek Syn­cline is ex­pected to main­tain min­ing ef­fi­ciency and re­duce unit costs fur­ther within the min­ing op­er­a­tions, given the de­posits rel­a­tive prox­im­ity to the pro­cess­ing plant, min­ing work­shop and as­so­ci­ated in­fra­struc­ture.

“Min­ing of the Gogo 5B de­posit was com­pleted in May and higher grade ores from the Chugga Far North and Shekuma de­posits will form the ba­sis of plant feed for the next two years with im­proved pro­cess­ing plant mass yields ex­pected.”

The mine’s new tail­ings re­treat­ment plant project, set for com­ple­tion later this year, also aims to gen­er­ate sin­ter feed for its Sarawak smelter in Malaysia.

Tail­ings Re­treat­ment Plant

Met­al­lur­gi­cal test works con­ducted ear­lier this year in­di­cated the po­ten­tial to utilise ex­ist­ing tail­ings stock­piles and HMS plant re­ject ma­te­rial to re­pro­cess a saleable 36 per cent to 38 per cent man­ganese prod­uct.

The process in­volves feed­ing the tail­ings di­rectly into a cir­cuit, while the re­ject ma­te­rial is crushed through a two-stage closed cir­cuit crush­ing plant.

“The ex­ist­ing Se­condary Pro­cess­ing Plant crush­ing cir­cuit is planned to be mod­i­fied by adding an ad­di­tional crush­ing/ grind­ing stage and wet screen­ing fa­cil­ity so as to fur­ther crush/grind the HMS re­ject ma­te­rial,” the com­pany stated ear­lier this year.

Based on the mine’s March pro­cess­ing plant re­sults, about 10.8 mil­lion tonnes of tail­ings with an av­er­age grade of 10 per cent man­ganese and about 3.4mt of HMS re­ject ma­te­rial are stock­piled on site.

Both ton­nages are set to in­crease by 1.6mt re­spec­tively, and the to­tal in­ven­tory es­ti­mate of 17.2mt was also ex­pected to be pro­cessed.

OM Hold­ings said en­gi­neer­ing de­sign of the plant was near­ing com­ple­tion, but had been ex­tended in or­der “to bet­ter com­ply with Aus­tralian stan­dards”.

“De­liv­ery is still an­tic­i­pated within 2018, and the plant is ex­pected to be com­mis­sioned in the March 2019 quar­ter,” the com­pany stated.

“The cap­i­tal cost of ap­prox­i­mately $8.2 mil­lion is ex­pected to be funded from in­ter­nal oper­at­ing cash flows.

“Given the sig­nif­i­cant stock­piles of lower grade ore and heavy me­dia re­ject ma­te­rial, the Tail­ings Re­treat­ment Plant is ex­pected to pro­duce ap­prox­i­mately 250,000 tonnes of man­ganese fines per an­num for ap­prox­i­mately eight years.”

Ex­plo­ration

The Bootu Creek project area con­tained a num­ber of man­ganese de­posits, in­clud­ing the aban­doned Muck­aty mine, worked from shal­low open pits between 1955 and 1963.

While no ex­plo­ration drilling was com­pleted in 2015 or 2016, in 2017 drilling re­sumed; al­beit lim­ited to a small re­verse cir­cu­la­tion drill pro­gram con­sist­ing of 11 drill holes for 1230 me­tres.

An ex­plo­ration pro­gram tested the po­ten­tial of both the Gogo and Shekuma de­posits, while a lim­ited ex­plo­ration pro­gram of six drill holes tested a shal­low tar­get lo­cated to the north­west of Ma­sai de­posit.

Both pro­grams were lo­cated on ML24301 and re­turned en­cour­ag­ing re­sults, but no sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in de­fined re­sources.

OM Hold­ings said ex­plo­ration drilling of sev­eral untested geo­phys­i­cal anom­alies (GAIP) for Ren­ner Springs and fol­low up of a prospect lo­cated to the north­west of Ma­sai was planned for 2018.

Bootu Creek is 110km north of Ten­nant Creek in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory.

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