In the media

Firestone narrows efforts to optimise Waterberg project

30 April 2014

Source: Mining Weekly

Author: Natasha Odendaal

Following the delivery of the definitive feasibility study (DFS) on the Waterberg coal project during the last quarter of 2013, exploration and development company Firestone Energy has embarked on an optimisation study while moving to secure financing.

The ASX- and JSE-listed company said on Wednesday that the project’s technical team had narrowed its focus to project value engineering and optimisation.

This would include mine schedule smoothing, savings on both mining contractor operating costs and plant operating costs, as well as savings on infrastructure and residential costs.

This emerged as Firestone short-listed two contract mining companies, which were now participating in the detailed costing phase.

The mining contract comprised the loading and haulage of between 40-million cubic metres and 60-million cubic metres of material a year, which would require the use of forty 240 t trucks.

The Waterberg coal project team had also engaged with local and international process engineering firms for the design, manufacture, supply, delivery, assembly, installation and commissioning of the 22-million-tonnes-a-year coal handling and preparation plant in a phased approach within an engineering, procurement and construction framework.

Further, the project team approached an international rail company, which demonstrated the ability to increase rail capacity on the Thabametsi Lephalale line, to manage the construction of the rail link.

Meanwhile, negotiations with State-owned power utility Eskom over a coal supply agreement (CSA) continued after the project’s technical team adjusted the economic model to cater for Eskom’s concessions on coal quality in an effort to increase the yield and reduce operating costs.

“Following the completion of this, we expect to conclude discussions on pricing for the CSA,” Firestone pointed out.

The company said to arrange project finance, the DFS and accompanying economic model were provided to Standard Bank.

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