The Mansourah-Massarah gold project involves the development of Mansourah and Massarah open-pit mines as well as a greenfield mineral concentrator and gold processing plant in the Central Arabian Gold Region of Saudi Arabia.
The £680m ($880m) project is being developed by Ma’aden Gold and Base Metals Company (MGBM), a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s majority state-owned mining company Ma’aden.
A bankable feasibility study (BFS) for the integrated mining project was completed in 2018, while the key contracts were awarded in the first half of 2019.
Scheduled to commence operations in the second quarter of 2022, the Mansourah-Massarah project is expected to produce 250,000 ounces (oz) of gold annually over an estimated mine life of 12 years.
Mansourah-Massarah will be the biggest ever gold project to be developed by Ma’aden.
Location, geology, and mineralisation
Mansourah-Massarah is the newest mining project by Ma’aden in the Central Arabian Gold Region that extends from the Red Sea coast to the middle of Saudi Arabia. The company’s five operational gold mines in the region are Ad Duwayhi, Al Amar, Bulghah & Sukhaybarat, As Suq, and Mahd Ad Dhahab.
The project comprises the Mansourah and the Massarah open-pit gold resources that form part a 50-km long, north-south trending string of gold deposits that occur parallel to the regional Ad Dafinah thrust fault zone in the Central Arabian Gold Region.
The Mansourah deposit is located approximately 460km north-east of Jeddah, while the Massarah site is situated in the Makkah Region, approximately 460km to the south-west of Riyadh.
The Mansourah and Masarrah deposits are separated by 6.5km across the Najd Fault System structures.
The gold mineralisation at both the deposits is found to be mostly hosted within stylolitic sulphidic quartz veins and listwaenite wall rock.
Gold reserves at Mansourah and Massarah
The Mansourah deposit is estimated to hold 27.7 million tonnes (Mt) of proven and probable ore reserves grading 5.06g/t gold, while the reserves estimates for the Massarah open-pit stand at 17.3Mt grading 1.99g/t gold.
Mining and ore processing for the Mansourah-Massarah gold project
The conventional open-pit mining method involving drill-blast-load-haul operations will be employed for extracting ore from the Mansourah and the Massarah deposits.
The run of the mine (ROM) ore will be trucked to a common processing facility for the recovery of gold through carbon-in-leach (CIL) and pressure oxidation (POX) processes.
The Mansourah-Massarah processing plant will treat up to four million tonnes of ore to produce up to 250,000oz of gold a year.
The Mansourah-Massarah gold project site can be accessed through an access road from the Taif Highway that connects Taif with Jeddah.
The water requirement for the project will be met through the existing 450km-long Ma’aden-operated pipeline system that was developed to bring treated wastewater from Taif to the company’s gold mine sites in the Kingdom.
The electricity for the project will be supplied from an on-site 44MW hybrid power plant equipped with six Wärtsilä 32 engines out of which five will be in operation and one on constant standby.
The power plant will utilise a hybrid between engine technology and photovoltaic (PV) solar energy. Mansourah-Massarah will be the first mining project in the kingdom to harness solar energy as a source of power.
Contractors involved with the Mansourah-Massarah gold project
A consortium of Finnish technology company Outotec and Indian engineering and construction company Larsen & Toubro (L&T) was awarded the engineering, procurement, construction (EPC) contract for the Mansourah-Massarah mineral concentrator and gold processing plant in April 2019.
Outotec will be responsible for the engineering, procurement, and delivery of process equipment, as well as for the commissioning, start-up assistance, and training services.
Red Sea International Company was subcontracted by L&T to provide two camps and office complexes to support its construction activities at the project site in September 2019.
L&T selected Wrench SmartProject integrated project management software solution for the Mansourag-Massarah project in April 2020.
Wartsila, a mechanical and industrial engineering company based in Finland, was contracted by L&T to provide the engineering, equipment, and technical advisory for the 44MW hybrid power plant for the project in March 2020.