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Khumani Mine

Introduction

The Khumani iron ore mine - formerly known as the Bruce, King and Mokaning (“BKM”) Project which refers to the farms on which the iron ore resources are located - is situated approximately 30km south of the town of Khatu, in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa and approximately 65 km north of Beeshoek Mine.

The Khumani Iron Ore mine replaces the older Beeshoek Iron Ore Mine as the main iron ore producer for Assmang Limited. The Khumani Iron Ore Mine has been designed to produce 10 million tons of export quality iron ore each year, a figure that will eventually rise to 16 million tons upon completion of phase 2 of the Khumani Expansion Project. The Phase 2 expansion includes development of the mining platform on the King property, material handling systems, stockpiles, stackers & reclaimers, a local railway siding, an additional rapid load-out station, a paste disposal facility, haul roads and other supporting facilities.

The iron ore mined, at the Khumani Iron Ore Mine, will initially only be exported, however with future expansions it will also be catering to the local South African steel market.

Brief History

Civil construction began on 5 October 2006, by which time the lion's share of earthworks had been completed. Steel and platework fabrication commenced the following day. Mechanical erection at the Parson processing plant commenced on 9 March 2007, quickly followed by piping fabrication in April, and erection in May that same year. The month of May proved to be critical in the ever-evolving history of Khumani as the very first blast took place during this month, which dislodged approximately 600,000 tons of ore for collection and treatment. The mine infrastructure packages progressed well and by October 2007, parts of the plant were ready for cold commissioning. Hot commissioning, the last major primary testing phase, began at the end of the year. The first consignment of ore was delivered to the Bruce primary crusher in December 2007. Both the on and off grade screening plants were ready to treat ore by late 2007, while construction of the jigs and High Pressure Grinding Roll (HPGR) sections were still in progress. The jig plants were the last element to be finalized with commissioning taking place in July 2008. Assmang was able to bring Khumani to the development and ramp up stage by the early months of 2008. The ramp up phase came to an end in 2009 and on 12 April 2009 the company announced that the mine had reached its full production capacity of 10 million tons per annum. Assmang was obliged, as per the agreement with Transnet Limited, to put 6 million tons of iron ore on the export line during the 2007/2008 fiscal year. With the processing plant unfinished at Khumani at that time, more than a million tons of Run of Mine (ROM) ore had to be transported by road to Beeshoek for processing. The other 5 million tons came from Beeshoek itself. The first train, destined for Saldanha Bay, was loaded at the mine in May 2008.

Ore Mining and Processing

The iron ore will be mined from a series of open pits, on the Bruce and King properties, by means of conventional drilling, blasting and loading into trucks for hauling to each of the Bruce and King primary and secondary crushing facilities. From there, it will be transferred by means of overland conveyor and stockpiled onto blending beds, that categorizes the material into two categories, on- and off-grade material, ahead of the Parsons Beneficiation Plant.

On-Grade material will move from the on-grade stockpile through to the Washing and Screening Plant situated on the Parsons property, to ultimately produce final product incorporating tertiary crushing of any oversize material from the screening plant.

Off-grade material will move from the off-grade stockpile through to the Washing and Screening Plant, and oversized material crushed in the Tertiary Crushers, in addition it will also be beneficiated through jigging in either the Lumpy or Fines Jig Plants, in order to remove any contaminants.  

The final product will then be stockpiled on either the Lumpy, Fines or DR Lump product stockpiles, ahead of a rapid load-out station, to periodically load 342 x 100-ton wagons, which will then be railed for exporting purposes via the 861 km Sishen-Saldanha railway line (OREX Line) to the Port of Saldanha Bay on South Africa's West Coast, in the Western Cape Province.

Product Quality

Ore is produced in grades with the following typical analyses and sizing:

Chemical Specification

Element Lumpy Fines DR Lump
Fe (%) 65.50 64.50 65.00
SiO2 (%) 3.95 4.80 4.20
Al2O3 (%) 1.50 1.80 1.62
P (%) 0.036 0.040 0.038
S (%) 0.014 0.016 0.016
K2O 0.20 0.28 0.24
H2O (%) 0.80 2.00 1.00
Loi (1000°C) 0.5-0.9 0.5-0.9 0.5-0.9

Physical Specification

  Lumpy Fines DR Lump
>31.5 mm (%) 5.00    
<6.3 mm (%) 10.00    
>8 mm (%)      
>6.3 mm (%)   11.00  
<0.212 mm (%)   6.00  
>18 mm (%)     5.00
<6.3 mm (%)     10.00