Sandpiper Phosphate resource upgraded
The joint developers of the controversial multi-billion dollar Sandpiper Marine Phosphate project located 60 km offshore Namibia have announced an estimated initial reserve of 133 million tonnes at 20.41% phosphate to support the Definitive Feasibility Study released early this year.
The Sandpiper Project, a first of its kind in the world, is owned by Australian mining outfits, Minemakers and UCL Resources who both have a 42.5% stake in the project while local partner Tungeni Investments has a 15% stake.
According to the latest resource update, 90% of the Measured Resources and 75% of the Indicated Resources within the Initial Target Recovery Area have been converted to Proved and Probable Reserves respectively.
At 1.7 billion tonnes, including the initial reserves, the Sandpiper Project is the world’s largest marine phosphate resource containing resources to support an initial 20-year mine life. Minemakers and UCL Resources are currently involved in a scrip tug of war for the sole control of the project expected to produce 3 million tonnes of marketable rock phosphate concentrate per annum.
The project is scheduled to be in production by the end of 2013 or early 2014 pending the outcome of the Environmental Impact Assessment study.
The main environmental concern is that the 5.5 million tonnes of phosphate that will be dredged from the seabed will leave 10% of the mineral on the seabed, affecting water quality. Not much is knownon how the phosphate sediment will affect the hake. However, the Namibian Hake Association has expressed concern over the potential negative impact of the Sandpiper Project on hake fishing south-west off Walvis Bay.