The Grande Côte mineral sands operation (GCO) is the largest single dredge mineral sands operation in the world and is managed by an experienced team.
Over an expected mine life of at least 25 years, GCO will primarily produce high-quality zircon and ilmenite as well as small amounts of rutile and leucoxene.
The operations comprise 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 MSP 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 gives 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 sold in the market and/or shipped for further processing at the TiZir Titanium & Iron (TTI) upgrading facility in Tyssedal, Norway. TTI upgrades ilmenite to produce a high-value titanium slag, primarily sold to pigment producers, and a high-purity pig iron (a valuable co-product) which is sold to ductile 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 22 kilometre spur line, GCO benefits from controlled rail tracks from treatment plant to port.
In the northern part of the port, GCO has constructed storage facilities complete with fixed and mobile conveyors and a mobile ship loader. GCO has also 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.
GCO is located on a coastal, mobile dune system starting approximately 50 kilometres north-east of Dakar in Senegal, West Africa, with the deposit extending northwards more than 100 kilometres. The Government of the Republic of Senegal is a valued project partner.
Having gained independence in 1960, Senegal enjoys a stable and investor friendly political and social environment. Being considered one of the most stable democracies in Africa has seen Senegal become a desired location for embassies and consulates. The country has a strong profile in many international organisations, including the United Nations, and is engaged in international peacekeeping activities. Senegal’s new development strategy – ‘Plan Senegal Emergent’ – highlights the country’s ambition of becoming an emerging economy by promoting a world-class economic environment, developing infrastructure and achieving accelerated growth.
A feature story on GCO appears in the November issue of African Business Review. Click here