GCO, located 50km NE of Dakar, stretches for more than 100km along Senegal’s coastline. It is located in an area characterized by costal dunes and specializes in the mining of heavy mineral sands such as zircon, rutile, leucoxene and ilmenite.
Senegalese Government share in GCO’s Operations
Senegal gained independence in 1960, and enjoys a stable and investor friendly political and social environment. The Government of the Republic of Senegal is a valued partner and holds a 10% free carried interest in the mine.
More than 25 years Mine Life Expectancy
Grande Côte, has an expected mine life of more than 25 years. It is estimated that on a yearly basis, 50M tons of sand will be extracted resulting in 85,000 tons of zircon, 15,000 tons of rutile and leucoxene and 570,000 tons of ilmenite – making Senegal one of the world’s largest producers of these minerals.
The Mine comprises of a Dredge, a Wet Concentrator Plant (WCP), a Mineral Separation Plant (MSP), Rail, Port facilities and a Power Station.
The Mining & Processing Operation
The simplicity of the orebody allows for conventional dredging and processing. The dunes contain no overburden, minor vegetation, free flowing sands and minimal slimes, providing for an uncomplicated mining operation.
The Dredge itself travels through the dunes and utilises the area’s shallow water table. It mines sand from the front of the dredge pond and pumps slurry to the floating concentrator. Sand is then washed through spirals, separating the heavy mineral concentrate from lighter quartz sand, which is sprayed out the back of the pond, restoring the landscape.
The heavy minerals are then transferred to the Mineral Separation Plant where magnetic, electrostatic and gravity processes separate the heavy mineral concentrate into various minerals – zircon, ilmenite, rutile and leucoxene. No chemicals are used in any of the separating processes on site.
The 36 megawatt Power Station located on site is capable of being powered by heavy fuel oil, natural gas or diesel, giving TiZir the security of a continued power supply.
Within close proximity to European & North American markets
The mine benefits from its close proximity to Africa’s largest international shipping port in, Dakar. After processing, zircon is shipped to customers worldwide by container, as is the rutile and leucoxene. The ilmenite is shipped in bulk vessels and is sold in the market and/or shipped for further processing at the TiZir Titanium & Iron upgrading facility in Tyssedal, Norway. Here they produce titanium slag for consumption of the TiO2-producers, the Ti-metal industry and high purity pig iron for iron foundries.
TiZir has made it a priority to control all its own logistical needs from the process plant to the ship hold. The company is highly fortunate in being able to utilise existing infrastructure, such as major rail and road links and the Dakar Port facilities.
Rail & Port Facilities
By refurbishing the existing rail line and linking it to a new 22km spur line, GCO benefit from controlled rail tracks from their treatment plant to their Port facilities.
In the northern part of the Port, GCO have constructed storage facilities complete with fixed and mobile conveyors and a mobile ship loader. GCO has secured use of a berth for ship loading and all containers are shipped via the well-established container freight system of the Port of Dakar.
A feature story on Grande Côte Operations appears in the November issue of African Business Review. Click here