Centrex, CDE pair up for QLD phosphate plant

Australian fertiliser-focused developer Centrex Metals has linked up with CDE Meta for delivery and commissioning of a phosphate wet processing plant at the former’s Ardmore project outside Mount Isa, Queensland, Australia
Centrex, CDE pair up for QLD phosphate plant Centrex, CDE pair up for QLD phosphate plant Centrex, CDE pair up for QLD phosphate plant Centrex, CDE pair up for QLD phosphate plant Centrex, CDE pair up for QLD phosphate plant

The Ardmore plant will ramp up to full-scale development by 2021

The plant is now under installation; once operational, it will help produce phosphate concentrate at Ardmore, which the miner said was one of the last remaining undeveloped phosphate rock deposits in the world.

Once commissioned, a milestone estimated to come before the end of this year, the start-up washing plant will wash, scrub and de-slime free-digging ore as it ramps up to full-scale development in 2021. Its focus is producing a premium 35% P2O5 and ultra-low cadmium phosphate rock concentrate that can be utilised for phosphoric acid production.

Centrex said the 70-tonne-per-hour modular plant had been designed to allow for expansion. In phase two, it will do just that by doubling the scale to a processing rate of 140t/h, representing 800,000 wet tonnes yearly.

Unitl then, the plant will provide up to 30,000t over phase one.

"CDE's modular approach solved many of the challenges presented by the remote location of the reserve," CDE mining head Adam Holland said.

"[This will be] providing the flexibility required to protect that initial investment when moving from start-up to full-scale plant in 2021. This was essential for Centrex Metals to gain the necessary return on investment to make the project viable."

The companies noted that the factor of the remote location was alleviated in part with the use of CDE's AquaCycle thickener. The water management system, designed to recover up to 90% of process water for immediate recirculation, helped it to overcome the inherent water restrictions of the area.

CDE said the solution supported in reducing Centrex Metals' pre-production capital costs by 13%.

"This is an exciting development for Centrex, and we look forward to commissioning of the start-up plant on site. Since acquiring the Ardmore project in 2017, we have focused on producing high-quality phosphate rock concentrate to deliver this vital commodity for agriculture in Australia, which is presently heavily reliant on imports," Centrex CEO Simon Slesarewich said.

"Following a thorough feasibility study, we expect to produce 776,000t of premium-grade phosphate rock concentrate, which is equivalent to 800,000 wet tonnes per annum at the target shipping level of 3% moisture.

"To deliver this target over the estimated 10-year lifetime of the mine, we required a reliable and resilient wet processing solution to remove the fine gangue after the high-grade ore has been crushed to meet sizing specifications. Our research showed that CDE could deliver a solution that fully met our requirements."