80-m long, 7-story high building
50, six-axle self-propelled modular transporter units (SPMTs)
Mining at Kenmare Resource’s Moma Titanium Minerals Mine, located on the northeast coast of Mozambique, is principally undertaken using dredges that float in artificial mining ponds. The dredges pump the mineral sands that form the wall of the pond into a floating Wet Concentrator Plant (WCP). Kenmare operates ore bodies at Namalope and Pilivili with three WCPs: WCP A, WCP B, and WCP C.
To increase production at the Moma mine on a sustainable basis from 2021 onwards, Kenmare made the strategic decision to relocate WCP B from the existing Namalope mine to a new ore body at Pilivili—an approximate 23-kilometer (km) journey.
In addition to the challenge of relocating a large, fully intact plant to a new location 23 km away, the team had to deal with the rapidly evolving global COVID-19 pandemic. Legislation in Mozambique was changing as they were reaching critical milestones and progressive lockdowns across the world restricted the movement of both people and materials.
Kenmare engaged Hatch to provide full EPCM services for the relocation of the wet concentrator, including dredge and associated infrastructure. The plant, with an estimated mass of 7,000 tonnes, travelled 23 km along a purpose-built road. The relocation was achieved using five trains of self-propelled modular transporter units (SPMTs) with a total number of +/-300 axle lines—a total of 50 six-axle SPMTs.
When the global pandemic became a risk to the project delivery, an integrated team approach—with the owner’s team, Hatch, and contractors fully aligned—led to the development of the “HMC on time” plan, which was a modification of the original project scope to ensure that heavy mineral concentrate (HMC) was delivered by Q3 2020. That achievement was essential for the business to get back into production. The team defined alternative suppliers and/or sub-contractors early, if required, to refocus the project towards more in-country resources.
In addition to the relocation, new infrastructure was also built at the Pilivili site, mainly for material handling and stockpiling of heavy mineral concentrate, positive displacement pumps, and a pipeline back to the existing mineral separation plant. Electrical infrastructure was developed to ensure an adequate power supply to the new site.
Read more about delivering the WCP B relocation project during the COVID-19 pandemic in an interview with Kenmare’s Ben Baxter.
- Transporting this 7,000-tonne plant 23 km is the first-ever of its kind, using state-of-the-art transport technology.
- The project was delivered and heavy mineral concentrate production commenced on October 25, 2020, as per the “HMC on time” plan.
- In Q4 of 2020, Kenmare ramped up WCP B back to its normal production rates.
- The project will help Kenmare Resources achieve a 20 percent increase in production on a sustainable basis from 2021 onwards.
“There were many success factors to this project, but the main success was around strong relationships. Our project team became extremely well-integrated with the operations team at Moma. We saw that there were fantastic relationships with our EPCM team, particularly personnel that had been with us throughout several previous projects over many years. The dedication of the contractor group was also fantastic—they worked as partners. Every contractor went the extra mile.”
In the first quarter of 2020, Kenmare Resources was on the critical path of delivering their massive Wet Concentrator Plant B (WCP B) relocation project when they were faced with the rapidly developing challenge of a global pandemic. The team had to adapt quickly to changing legislation and travel restrictions in Mozambique to deliver this project safely and successfully.
Read an interview with Kenmare Resources’ Chief Operating Officer, Ben Baxter, to learn more.