The Engebo rutile and garnet mining project is an open-pit mine being developed by Nordic Mining’s subsidiary Nordic Rutile in the Vestland County of Norway.
The initial exploration and drilling at the mine was conducted by DuPont and its subsidiary Conoco in the 1990s. The project’s extraction permits were acquired by Nordic Mining in September 2006.
The Engebo mining project was granted a zoning plan (industrial area plan) approval by the ministry of local government and modernisation in April 2015, and a discharge permit was issued by the Ministry of Climate and Environment. An operating license for the project was issued by the Directorate of Mining in June 2020.
The definitive feasibility study (DFS) for the project was completed in January 2020, following which an updated DFS was released in May 2021.
The civil construction works on the project are expected to commence by 2022. The overall mine life of Engebo is expected to be 39 years, including an underground mining operation that is planned to be developed in the next phase.
Location and geology
The Engebo rutile and garnet mining project is located in Naustdal village, in the Sunnfjord municipality of Vestland county on the west coast of Norway. The project site lies on the northern side of the Forde fjord.
The mine consists of high-grade rutile (TiO2) hard rock deposits comprising almandine type (Fe3Al2Si3O12) garnet. The deposit is situated in a Proterozoic gneiss, dipping approximately 85º to the north. The geology of the deposit predominantly comprises eclogite facies folds, shear zones, and foliation.
Engebo mining project reserves
The total measured and indicated mineral resources at the Engebo mining project are estimated to be 133.2 million tonnes (Mt) containing 3.51% rutile (TiO2) and 44% garnet.
The inferred resources are estimated at 254.1Mt grading 3.15% TiO2 and 41.3% garnet.
The proven and probable open-pit ore reserves are estimated to be 29.65Mt grading 3.47% TiO2 and 44.32% garnet. The project also holds underground proven and probable ore reserves of 27.30Mt containing 3.68% TiO2 and 44.47% garnet.
Mining and ore processing
The Engebo rutile and garnet project will employ open-pit mining method to access high-grade ore with limited waste stripping. The run-of-mine (ROM) feed will be crushed in the crushing unit to a suitable size for milling operation.
A primary mill will be used to grind the crushed rocks and separate the minerals. The coarse garnet will be milled in the secondary mill to produce the primary concentrate, which will be fed into the fine garnet circuit to produce fine garnet product stream. The rutile will then go through the secondary concentration process to upgrade the rutile for dry processing, followed by froth floatation to remove pyrite.
The final rutile and garnet product will be delivered for shipment from the rutile product silos.
The infrastructure at the Engebo rutile and garnet project will include an underground primary crushing unit with a discharge conveyer, a processing plant, comminution and milling building, and wet and dry plant buildings.
The mine site will also host ore silos, product bins, a tailings system, water storage systems, administrative offices, integrated workshops, and stores.
Power supply for the Engebo rutile and garnet mining project
The power to the Engebo rutile and garnet project will be supplied from a hydroelectric power station facilitated by regional power utility Sogn og Fjordane Energi (SFE).
The project is expected to receive approximately 15MW of electricity after upgrading the existing 22kV grid from the Oyravatnet transformer station to the Engebo site.
Nordic Mining signed an offtake agreement with Kronos US in July 2021 for the entire rutile produced from the Engebo project for five years.
Nordic Rutile signed a letter of intent (LOI) in June 2021 with Sunnfjord Industripartner, Åsen and Ovrelid, Nordic Bulk, and Normatic to provide engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) services for the project.
Hatch and Sweco Norge signed a contract with Nordic Rutile in June 2021 to serve as a project management consultant (PMC) for the project. The scope includes process design, and engineering co-ordination and integration of the EPC partners.
Hatch Consultants and Axe valley Mining were engaged in November 2020 to prepare the updated DFS.
SRK Consulting was contracted in 2019 to carry out geotechnical investigations, analysis, and development of slope design.
Clarkson Platou Securities and SpareBank 1 Markets were selected in June 2021 as the financial advisors for the project.
Australian mineral services company IHC Robbins performed metallurgical process development test work for the DFS.