Yandera developer looks at disposal options
By SINCLAIRE SOLOMON
THE developer of Madang’s second biggest mine is considering a deep sea tailings placement (DSTP) system – similar to the one which has landed the Ramu nickel project developer, Ramu NiCo, in court and further delayed construction of its refinery in Basamuk in Madang’s Astrolabe Bay, The National reports.
Australian-based Marengo Mining Ltd has selected a site not too far from the Ramu NiCo’s refinery and planned DSTP system construction which had been put on hold following an interim injunction taken by a group of landowners who claimed the system would be environmentally damaging.
Marengo is developing the Yandera copper-molybdenum-gold prospect in the
, several kilometres southwest of Ramu nickel’s Kurumbukari nickel-cobalt mine. Bismarck Range
Managing director Les Emery confirmed the DSTP proposal yesterday but also pointed out that “a number of tailings disposal methods would continue to be evaluated”.
The DSTP plans were highlighted in Marengo’s June quarter report which was released last Friday.
Three key tailings management possibilities had been identified: a tailings storage facility (TSF) within the
, about 28km from the processing plant; the DSTP, about 100km from the plant site; and combination of TSF and DSTP. Ramu Valley
Interestingly, Marengo engaged Coffey Natural Systems of Australia, the same company engaged by Ramu NiCo for its environmental management and deep sea tailings placement study.
“The Ramu valley is the preferred site to establish a TSF because of the flatter terrain, lower drainage management requirements and geotechnical aspects.
“Additional studies would be conducted to determine if it would be necessary to implement the DSTP within the initial 10-year operating life.”
“Oceanographic testing equipment was deployed into
Astrolabe Bay, on the north coast of PNG, in an area selected as a potential location for deep seas tailings placement (DSTP).
“This testing is part of comprehensive baseline study activity, required to be carried out before any development and environmental permit is made.
“Prior to the deployment of the oceanographic equipment, public awareness meetings were held at nearby villages.
“These meetings were a great success and will set the foundation for similar meetings, as other activities are undertaken.”
Emery did not specifically answer questions on whether Marengo was following the Ramu NiCo court case and its eventual outcome to decide whether to proceed with the DSTP system.
However, he told The National that the system was included in its definitive feasibility study (DFS) into the development of the Yandera project which was scheduled for completion by the end of this year.
Emery said that during the course of the study, many aspects of proposed mining operations had been considered as part of developing a long life mining operation which would benefit all stakeholders.
“To achieve this outcome, we continue to consider the various components, their suitability of application to the project, their effect on the environment and communities, and their economic viability.
“A number of tailings disposal methods continue to be evaluated, including that of DSTP for the safe storage of inert process tailings, after recovery of sulphide concentrates.
“Land-based tailing storage methods are also being evaluated and the final decision as to what will be included in the mining approval applications will be made early next year.”
He said that based on a the DFS completion date, securing of project financing and permitting approvals the US$1.6 billion Yandera project could be in full production by 2014.
On the other hand, the US$1.37 billion Ramu nickel project was scheduled to be commissioned later this year.