MDM Engineering Group, the Johannesburg based mining focused minerals process and project management company, has announced that it has received a Letter of Intent for the award of the detailed engineering and execution phase for a 2.4 million tonne/year gold plant for African Barrick Gold (ABG)’s Bulyanhulu Process Plant Expansion project in Tanzania. The plant is to be built primarily to process stored tailings built up over the years the operation has been in progress – and MDM does have substantial experience in tailings treatment plant construction in its headquarters country of South Africa. The cost of the contract is expected to be in the order of US$180 million according to the MDM website.
ABG a 73.9%-owned subsidiary of the world’s biggest gold mining company, Canada’s Barrick Gold, is the largest gold producer in Tanzania with a portfolio of four operating mines and is the operator and manager of Bulyanhulu which is its flagship mining operation there.
Barrick acquired Bulyanhulu in 1999 when it purchased it from exploration company Sutton Resources. The mine is located 150 km southwest of the city of Mwanza, a regional centre. The mine opened in 2001,and was built at a capital cost of US$280 million.
Bulyanhulu consists of an underground mine, a process plant, waste rock dumps, tailing containment, water management ponds, and associated facilities. It has an anticipated mine life of over 20 years. Proven and probable reserves were last stated at 28.2 million tonnes grading 11.73 g/tonne for a total gold content of 10.6 million ounces. 2011 output was 262,034 gold ounces.
The Bulyanhulu concentrator has been in operation since commissioning in 2001. During 2010, ABG completed a scoping study to determine the technical and economic viability of reclaiming and processing the stored tailings for recovery of gold and in August 2011 engaged MDM to undertake a Bankable Feasibility Study into the project.
MDM successfully completed the bankable feasibility study at the end of last year, followed by value engineering in March and April 2012. The company is now to execute the project which includes construction of a new 2.4 million tonne/year CIL facility to process tailings reclaimed from the historical tailings concurrently with current flotation tailings. The detailed engineering has commenced in order to maintain the project completion schedule.
George Bennett, MDM’s Executive Director commented: “MDM is thrilled to be working on the Bulyanhulu gold project in Tanzania. MDM will be able to bring the experience of the team’s 35 gold plants designed and built across Africa to date, including two 650 tonnes per month tailings plants built in the last three years. We look forward to a long working relationship with African Barrick Gold.”