The Shymanivske iron ore project is an open-pit mine planned to be developed by Black Iron in the heart of the KrivBass iron ore mining district in Ukraine.

Exploration activities on the Shymanivske property began in 2011 and a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) report was released in December 2011. This was followed by a feasibility study report based on a 9.2 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) production capacity in December 2012.

Although an updated feasibility study calling for an estimated capital expenditure of $1bn was completed in January 2014, the project could not proceed because of the fall in iron ore price and the political instability in Ukraine.

A re-scoped preliminary economic assessment (PEA) was published in March 2020 to replace the 2014 feasibility study. The new plan incorporates a phased development of the project with phase one expected to incur a capital expenditure of £370m ($451m).

The Shymanivske project is expected to produce 4Mtpa of iron ore in phase one which is expected to be doubled to 8Mtpa in phase two. The estimated mine life of the project is 17 years.

Location, geology, and mineralisation

The Shymanivske iron ore project is located approximately 330km south-east of Kiev and 243km north-east from the port of Odessa. The property covers an area of approximately 300ha within the KrivBass iron ore mining district of the Dnepropetrovsk region of Ukraine, approximately 8km south-west of the city of Kryvyi Rih.

The Shymanivske property is situated within the Paleoproterozoic synclinorium structured KrivBass basin in the Archean Ukrainian Shield.

The mineralisation is associated with oxide facies banded-iron formation (BIF) containing magnetite-rich taconite.

Shymanivske iron ore reserves

The Shymanivske mine is estimated to contain 646Mt of measured and indicated resources containing 31.6% iron and 18.8% magnetite.

The inferred resources are estimated to be is 188.9Mt grading 30.1% iron and 18.4% magnetite.

Mining and processing

The conventional open-pit mining method involving drill, blast, truck, and shovel operations will be employed for the Shymanivske iron ore project.

The mining will be carried out in 15m-high benches, while the pit will ultimately measure up to 1,200m-long, 750m-wide, and 300m-deep. The total pit surface area will be approximately 2,000,000m2.

The primary crushing of the extracted ore will be carried out in the vicinity of the open-pit via a single primary gyratory crusher. Secondary crushing will be done in two reversed closed-circuit cone crushers with screens.

The crushed ore material will be conveyed to a single high-pressure grinding roll (HPGR) unit operating in a closed circuit with screens. The screened product will undergo magnetic separation using low-intensity magnetic separation (LIMS). The magnetic slurry will then be sent to a ball mill for further grinding.

The magnetic concentrate from the mills will be conditioned in a tank prior to undergoing reverse sulphur flotation. The concentrate from the flotation circuit will be sent to a concentrate thickener and then filtered with filter presses.

The obtained iron ore concentrates will be stockpiled and transported via rail to the port of Yuzhny for shipping.

Infrastructure facilities for the Shymanivske iron ore project

The Shymanivske rail station and rail spur are located immediately south of the concentrator building.

Electrical power for the project will be supplied from the 150kV Gornaya Substation located approximately 30km southeast of the project site. The substation is owned by the local utility   Dneprovskaya ElectroEnergetisheskaya Systema.

The process water for the plant will be supplied through a 9km pipeline from the Yuzhnaya water aeration plant, while the potable water will be supplied through a 7km-long pipeline from the Karachunovskoe reservoir located north to the Shymanivske iron ore processing plant site.

Contractors involved

Worley Parsons was engaged for preparing the feasibility study for the project in 2012, while the latest PEA report was prepared by the Canadian consulting and engineering firm BBA.