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Moma is the world’s largest titanium mineral deposit, located 160km from the city of Nampula in Mozambique, Africa. It is owned and operated by Kenmare Resources.
The mine contains the titanium minerals ilmenite, rutile and zircon, which are used as feedstock to produce titanium dioxide pigment. It started production of heavy mineral concentrate (HMC) containing these three minerals in April 2007. It produced 842,900t of HMC, and shipped approximately 730,400t of finished products in 2011.
Kenmare is carrying out an expansion at the mine in order to fulfil the growing demand for titanium dioxide feedstock in the market. The expansion will increase the design capacity of the mine by about 50%. It will also increase the mine’s reserve estimate and annual production of HMC.
Construction work on the expansion began in December 2010. It is expected to be completed by the end of 2012 with an estimated cost of $350m. The expanded mine will have a life of 120 years.
Moma geology and reserves
Moma contains number of sand deposits, which include Namalope, Congolone, Nataka, Pilivili, Mualadi, Mpitini, Marrua, and Quinga North and South. Heavy surface mineralisation occurs in the sand units near Namalope flats and Tupuito high dune areas.
The HM sand deposits occur in a sequence of fine to medium grained and silty sands consociated with clay units. The mineralisation constitutes about 85% of ilmenite, 5% of zircon and 2% of rutile, with minute variations among the units. It also contains small quantities of monazite, staurolite and quartz.
The mine has a reserve of around 26 million tonnes of ilmenite, 1.8mt of zircon and 0.55mt of rutile under a license to Kenmare as of December 2011.
Mining at the Moma titanium deposit
Titanium minerals at Moma are mined through dredging. The mining is carried out at Namalope flats, which was the first deposit mined. The dredges cut the ore at the surface level, causing the sand to slide into the dredge pond, which is nearly 800m long, 300m wide and 15m deep.
A wet concentrator plant (WCP) collects the sand pumped by the dredges. Two trammels are used by the WCP to treat oversized materials, while the underflow materials pass by the surge bin. Silica sand and clay tailings are separated from the HMC by spiral separators. The total sands mined consist of 5% weight of the HMC.
The HMC is transferred to mineral separation plant (MSP), where it is stored and processed.
Processing of titanium heavy mineral concentrate in Mozambique
Minas Moatize Coal Mine is located near Tete Province, in Mozambique.
The MSP uses magnetic, gravity and electrostatic techniques to extract titanium minerals from the concentrate. Ilmenite is a magnetic mineral, while rutile and zircon are non-magnetic.
Ilmenite mineral from the dried HMC is separated from rutile and zircon minerals with the use of high intensity magnets.
Pure ilmenite is produced through electrostatic separation of the magnetic mineral. A downstream magnetic separation plant and a 50tph ilmenite roaster further improve the quality of the ilmenite.
Waste minerals from the non-magnetic ore are removed through wet gravity separation. Rutile is then separated from zircon by electrostatic separators.
Transportation of titanium minerals from Nampula mine
The final products are stored in a warehouse and loaded into to a 2.4km overland conveyor system. The conveyor leads to a jetty located near a marine terminal, from where the products are ultimately transferred to a ship loader.
Transhipment vessel Bronagh J carries the loaded products to the customer’s ship located 10km offshore.
Moma mine expansion
The ongoing expansion of Moma will upgrade the capacity of the existing dredges, MSP, product storage facility and WCP. The spiral feed capacity of the existing WCP will be increased from 3,000tph to 3,500tph, while the capacity of the MSP will be increased from 135tph to 220tph.
The plan includes installation of a new WCP, wet high intensity magnetic separation (WHIMS) unit, an auxiliary ilmenite plant (AIP), a starter, and a dredge pond. The new WCP will have a spiral feed capacity of 2,000tph. It will be installed at a new dredge pond, which will be located on the Namalope reserve.
Future development of Moma mining facility
A pre-feasibility study for phase III expansion of Moma is in progress. It will focus mainly on adding facilities for the production and export of monazite mineral.
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