The company anticipates reaching a final investment decision for Sembehun after the completion of DFS, which would take approximately 12 months


Sierra Rutile has begun a definitive feasibility study (DFS) for its fully-owned Sembehun project. (Credit: Анатолий Стафичук from Pixabay)

Natural rutile producer Sierra Rutile has announced that the company has begun a definitive feasibility study (DFS) for its fully-owned Sembehun project in Sierra Leone.

The Sembehun natural rutile deposit is closely situated to the existing mining operations of Sierra Rutile, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).

Sierra Rutile expects to reach a final investment decision for the Sembehun project in late 2023 after the completion of DFS, which could take nearly 12 months.

The natural rutile producer has contracted consulting engineering firm Hatch to carry out the study work. Hatch completed the pre-feasibility study for the Sembehun project earlier this year.

The scope of work for Hatch will cover operational readiness planning, updated designs for open pit mines, magnetic separation plants at the mineral separation plant, wet concentration plants, tailings storage facility, and related infrastructure.

According to the project’s preliminary feasibility study, the five deposits in Mine Lease Area 5 (MLA 5) namely, Kamatipa, Benduma, Komende, Dodo, and Kibi have rutile, ilmenite, and zircon mineral sands that could be potentially mined.

The expansion into MLA 5 is expected to extend Sierra Rutile’s operating life of mine (LOM) by nearly 13 years. It is also estimated to contribute nearly 13.6 million tonnes (Mt) of ore per annum to the company.

Sierra Rutile managing director and CEO Theuns Bruyn said: “We are pleased to commence the Sembehun DFS on schedule following our recent demerger and ASX listing.

“Sierra Rutile is already one of the largest natural rutile producers in the world, and Sembehun is one of the largest and highest grade natural rutile deposits in the world. So we are very well positioned to significantly extend our mine life and continue to deliver value to our shareholders through the development Sembehun.”

The DFS and related works will be funded by Sierra Rutile from its existing cash reserves and operating cashflow.