The Ardmore phosphate project south of Mount Isa has reached a milestone, with a 70-tonnes-per-hour processing plant fully assembled on site.
Centrex Metals says it has now shifted focus to progressing the other elements required to get a start-up mining operation online by late 2019.
This includes marketing the trial parcels of concentrate to be produced by the start-up plant, contracting and other operational activities.
“We are very pleased with progress at Ardmore and in particular the fact that the team has erected the start-up plant whilst maintaining the highest of safety standards,” chief executive officer Simon Slesarewich said.
“This is another exciting milestone for Centrex in the development of our flagship Ardmore phosphate rock project.
“We look forward to advancing to trial mining and production, which will enable the company to demonstrate the quality of the Ardmore product and further advance the project with offtake partners in the region.”
The Ardmore start-up operation will produce up to 30,000 wet tonnes of concentrate to provide 5000-tonne shipments for potential customers.
These will underpin the financing of full-scale operations, planned for 2020.
The plant has been designed to expand to 140tph for the full-scale operation, which will produce 800,000 wet tonnes of phosphate rock per annum.
Alongside the processing plant construction, Centrex said site works had included establishing site access, processing water and installing monitoring bores.
The Ardmore project is being assessed for a loan under the $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.