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MEI Online: Plant Operation News: Australasia: May 11, 2009


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:: Avebury Nickel Concentrator Commissioned

The AUD133 million EPCM contract for the Avebury Nickel concentrator project in Tasmania for Allegiance Mining Limited was completed in August 2008, with the first nickel concentrate produced in July 2008. The project was awarded to Metplant Engineering Services Pty Ltd (now part of Bateman Engineering’s Australia & South East Asia business unit) in July 2007 following Metplant’s completion of the definitive feasibility study.

The scope covered the design, procurement, construction, installation and commissioning of the 900,000 t/yr nickel concentrator. Facilities provided covered a three stage crushing to 9 mm material size; ball mill grinding to 100 microns (0.1 mm); and flash flotation to recover coarse grained nickel sulphide. The conventional sulphide flotation circuit is followed by magnetic separation, regrind and reflotation to recover the nickel sulphide locked in the magnetite and filtration of the concentrates to design moisture levels ready for sale. Other facilities provided included administration, change-house and workshop buildings; reagents storage; paste fill; a life of project tailings dam and wash down areas, all designed to ensure minimum environmental impact.

The design targets an 80 % recovery of the contained nickel into a premium concentrate which grades more than 20 % nickel, a premium quality concentrate often referred to as “Nothing but Nickel” and in high demand by nickel smelters.

At full production, the initial plant at Avebury is treating more than 900,000 t/yr of ore grading at 1.2 % nickel, producing more than 39,000 dry t/yr of nickel sulphide concentrates, grading in excess of 20 % nickel and with an output of more than 8,500 t/yr of nickel in concentrates. However, the process plant design has incorporated spaces to build additional processing capacity and increase the treatment plant capacity to 1.5 million t/yr.

The project was completed within a tight time schedule and executed in partnership with local Tasmanian contractors.

The Avebury Nickel mine is located near Zeehan on the west coast of Tasmania and represents a ‘new’ style of remobilised nickel mineralisation. The orebody is of a simple metallurgy, producing the world’s highest grade nickel sulphide concentrate. The Avebury project is the first nickel project in Tasmania to be commissioned by Allegiance Mining NL (now part of Oz Minerals), an emerging Australian nickel mining company and is the first mine in this newly recognised nickel province.




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