DUNDAS ILMENITE PROJECT
Dundas Ilmenite project is an advanced stage ilmenite project, which has been proven to be the highest-grade mineral sand ilmenite project globally, with current total resources of 117 million tonnes at 6.1% ilmenite (in-situ; JORC).
With a fast-paced development program underway, Bluejay Mining plc is, through its Greenland registered 100% owned subsidiary Dundas Titanium A/S, focused on advancing Dundas into production in the near term.
There are inherent advantages at Dundas – including a homogenous and consistent material, a high-grade resource, the coarse-grained and chemical nature of the ilmenite – which all potentially have economic benefits.
Planning for the construction of the mine plant and supporting infrastructure is underway and the full Exploitation License anticipated is expected to be granted by the Government of Greenland in the coming phase.
The Dundas Ilmenite deposit
The ilmenite-bearing sand resource at the Dundas Ilmenite Project is hosted on active, raised and submerged beaches. The sands are enriched in ilmenite derived from a single source which are a Neoproterozoic titanium-rich dolerite sills and dykes complex in the immediate hinterland of the beaches. Ilmenite-rich sand was deposited on the beaches through erosion and fluvio-glacial transportation. Active wave, storm and tidal-current contribute to increase the grade of the ilmenite in the beach sand – with lesser dens minerals being transported away by wave and tidal-current leaving more dens minerals behind.
Modelling studies of sea-level changes and glacial rebound performed in the vicinity of the Dundas Ilmenite Project have shown a relative rapid fall at c. 12.000 years BP (Before Present) of the relative sea level from plus 35 m above present sea level from deglaciation to minus 30 m below present sea level until c. 7,000 years BP. Hereafter the sea level went up again to the current present day level at 0 m. This means that the deposit constitutes three primary beach types:
- Raised beaches; containing ilmenite accumulations over widths of more than 1.5km along more than 30km of coastline within the project area;
- Active beaches; which refers to the area seaward of the frontal dunes, including the beach, tidal zones and surf zone – and which exists for most of the 30km of coastline within the project area; and
- Drowned beaches; which refers to the areas seaward of active beaches were earlier beaches have been flooded because of a sea level increase that happen c. 7,000 years BP from minus 30 m below present-day 0 m sea-level.
Exploration work carried out by Bluejay has demonstrated the presence of offshore beach deposits in the surf and nearshore zones at depths corresponding with the minimum level of the paleo-sea surface. However, currently the exploitation of the beaches is only focused on onshore beaches.
The Pre-Feasibility Study
Based on the JORC defined resource have a complete advanced Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) been made together with leading consultancy houses. The key-findings of the Pre-Feasibility Study, based on a JORC compliant mineral reserve of 67.1Mt out of the current Mineral Resource of 117Mt, is:
Ore Reserve presented at a 1.6% TiO2 cut-off grade within an engineered pit design and includes loss and dilution of 4.1% and 4.3% respectively
- Cut-off grade for Ore Reserve, assumes a selling price of US$232/t, all in sustaining C3 cost of US$113/t, Greenland royalty of 2.5% and total TiO2 recovery of 79.7%
- Estimated conservative Capital Expenditure: US$245M
- Significant CAPEX and OPEX improvements expected to be achievable through optimization studies
- Project finance discussions have commenced with European funding agencies
- Additional JORC Exploration Target of between 300Mt and 530Mt offshore
- Exploration upside: additional exploration targets onshore and offshore.
The major contributors to the PFS, and their specific contributions are set out below:
- Dundas Titanium A/S: Provision of information related to Project background, history and location, environmental and social studies, marketing strategy and financial modelling;
- SRK Exploration Services Ltd: Regional geology and exploration, hydrogeology and hydrology, geotechnical, mine design and ore schedule, mining costs, resource estimation and ore reserves, and the design for residue management facilities;
- IHC Robbins: Metallurgical test work, design and engineering of the wet and dry processing plants, and processing plant capital and operating costs;
- Wood (formerly AMEC Foster Wheeler): Design and engineering of site infrastructure, logistics and shipping, project infrastructure capital and operating costs, development of the Project execution plan and the EPCM costs.
The PFS represent a conservative study that proof the concept and project. Optimization of several components in the PFS related to the mining, handling of material and general infrastructure are now being studied with the aim of lowering the CAPEX and OPEX.
Environmental & Social Impact Assessments
The application for the Exploitation License is accompanied by complete Environmental Impact (EIA) Assessment and Social Impact Assessment (SIA) studies carried out over the period 2015-2019 and 2016-2019 respectively.
The EIA, which was prepared by internationally renowned consultants Orbicon|WSP (‘Orbicon’), one of the most experienced and well-respected environmental consultants operating in Greenland. The main conclusion drawn from the EIA report is that there are no material or unmanageable environmental impacts arising from the development of the Project.
Senior Project Manager Morten Christensen from Orbicon|WSP, manager of the EIA studies for the Dundas Ilmenite Project, said: “After three years of detailed baseline fieldwork and dedicated surveys of the marine and terrestrial environment Orbicon|WSP is pleased to find that the Environmental Impact Assessment for the Dundas Ilmenite Project has been accepted. No major environmental impacts have been identified by the assessment.
The Dundas Ilmenite Project is developed to highest international standards in respect of the Arctic environment in North-West Greenland. This environmental low-impact project can contribute to a sustainable development and economy of Greenland without any long-term footprint on the unique nature of the area.”
The SIA was prepared by internationally renowned development consultants NIRAS, one of the most experienced and well-respected ethic and sustainability consultants operating in Greenland and Scandinavia. The main conclusion by NIRAS is that the construction and commencement of the ilmenite sand mine at Dundas will have a significantly positive effect on the livelihoods of the people of Greenland, including substantial economic benefits.
Head of Department Gertrud Øllgaard from NIRAS, manager of the SIA studies for the Dundas Ilmenite Project, said: “After nearly three years of studies, analyses and interviews, NIRAS is pleased to find that the Social Impact Assessment for the Dundas Ilmenite Project has been accepted as compliant with the guidelines. Our research on the social impact of the project shows that it is a sustainable project which is well-suited for the Greenlandic society.
The Project will create jobs and improve the economic prospects for the people of Greenland. The project also has the potential to provide a basis for developing new skills, forms of education and infrastructure in Greenland. The great interest in the project from both local and national stakeholders is positive and an important basis for the development of the project.”
The final phase of developing the EIA and SIA have been done in close dialogue and review-process with responsible Greenlandic authorities and their advisors. The EIA and SIA have to be translated into three languages: Greenlandic, English and Danish.
Local, regional and national relations
The Greenlandic Government actively supports the development of the local mining industry as part of its drive to create jobs, raise citizens’ living standards and reduce the block subsidy from the Danish state. The Greenland Government named the Dundas Ilmenite Project one of the most well- advanced mineral projects in the autonomous territory in its 2018 economic report and named Bluejay Mining plc Prospector and Developer of the year for 2017.
Dundas Titanium A/S and Bluejay Mining have a long-standing relationship with the Greenlandic national, regional and local citizens, communities, authorities and business partners. All are highly valued stakeholders in our project – without their support and contributions would it be impossible to develop the Ilmenite Project. ´
Our operation in north-west Greenland are carried out in deepest respect for the society and truly amazing culture. We have a long and strong relationship to the nearest towns and settlements – and have also strived towards securing local employees whenever possible and to support education and life-long-learning initiatives for the local and regional workforce which can be mutual beneficial for the future mining operation. Our relationship has been turned into friendships with many locals over the years and there is a strong support and willingness towards the Ilmenite Project. We are well-attached to local authorities and key business partners and look forward to continuing and strengthening that over the coming years as the Project enters its construction and production.
Dundas Titanium A/S have its head office in Greenland in Ilulissat – much of the logistical coordination for the Ilmenite Project is carried out from this office and it is used as a hub for both Dundas Titanium A/S and many of the Bluejay Mining plc activities in the region. Ilulissat is the primay hub for north-west Greenland and host the Avannaata Kommunia municipality administration center. A strong and continuous relationship have been built with the Avannaata Kommunia, its elected politicians and the administration.
The proven grade quality and characteristics of the ilmenite, the resource size and a complete PFS with an economical, yet very conservative, viable operation with a JORC compliant mineral reserve of 67.1Mt provide, together with complete EIA and SIA the background for an application for a Exploitation License to the Government of Greenland.
The application and the accompanying EIA and SIA material were handed in to the Greenlandic authorities August 2019. The lodging of the application is followed by a review of the EIA and SIA material to evaluate whether the material is compliant with guidelines. This also include a quality check of the translations.
The EIA and the SIA have both been accepted as being compliant with the guidelines for such material and the administrative acceptance is then sent to the Greenlandic politician with the purpose of getting a political decision on when the public consultation should commence.
The homogeneous, high-grade, coarse grained, none-weathered ilmenite minerals in beach sand without simplifies mining and processing methodologies and lowers operating cost.
Basically, the mining is all about moving beach sand, separating out the ilmenite mineral grains and return the reject to the open cuts. The simple process flow sheet at Dundas includes both wet gravity separation plant and a dry magnetic separation plant. No liberation, grinding, chemicals etc are needed in the processing. Coarse grain size facilitates gravity separation while none-weathered ilmenite is better amenable to magnetic separation. Shipping costs are an important factor. Dundas Ilmenite Project, through its location in Greenland, has a clear advantage in terms of proximity to Europe/North America over feedstock suppliers in the other four of the top five producing countries. As the north-west passage opens up for bulk shipping will also south-east Asia become a close market.