ASX-listed minnow Alara Resources says a memorandum of understanding with Oman’s Green Tech Mining & Services could see tailings produced at the proposed circa-A$60 million Al Wash-hi Majaza copper-gold project in the country removed and reprocessed by Green Tech over the 10-year life of the venture.
Alara owns 51% of Al Wash-hi Majaza developer, Al Hadeetha Resources LLC (AHRL).
It said earlier this month civil construction work on the project’s one million tonnes per annum copper processing plant was about 75% complete, while mechanical and electrical works had made “substantial progress”.
A project review connected with a recent US$15 million debt facility extension by Sohar Bank International made the case for a commercial production start in September this year.
Alara had A$4.1m in the bank at the end of March this year.
AHRL aims to produce about 35,000tpa of copper concentrate from Al Wash-hi Majaza, containing some 8000tpa of copper.
Alara said under the MoU, Green Tech would remove and reprocess at its own cost and risk all processed tailings from Al Wash-hi Majaza.
“Both parties will collaborate on the preparation of a feasibility study, to be carried out by GTMS at its own cost, for the tailings disposal project,” Alara said.
“The MoU represents the investigation of an alternative to AHRL’s currently proposed method of tailings disposal, with improved environmental sustainability benefits.”
Green Tech was set up by the Oman Government-controlled Oman Mining Company as a special purpose vehicle about five years ago to recycle tailings from old mines and offer tailings and groundwater treatment services to new operations. Its remediation services and focus on introducing innovative and green mining technologies was aimed at paving the way “for making mining widely acceptable again in the Sultanate of Oman”.
“While [Green Tech’s] current projects are classified as advanced brownfield projects and are mostly about processing of stocked ore piles and residuals from past operations in Sohar and Yanqul, it is equally important for the company to introduce modern tailings management and new metal extraction and mine water management techniques, as well as bringing other new technologies and international major mining players to the Sultanate,” the company said.
It is now part of Vienna stock exchange-listed BPG Precious Metal Storage.
“The pioneering role of Al Hadeetha for Oman’s mining industry, in becoming the first copper producer in Oman after 2016, is manifested in it also becoming the first private mining entity in Oman to recognise the importance of an environmentally sound approach to handling tailings,” Green Tech CEO Ernst Grissemann said.
“In pairing with Green Tech Mining, AHRL is adopting a proven way to sustainably handle any potential long-term negative impact from the copper production waste stream.”
Alara said construction of an “appropriate processed tailings storage facility [would] … proceed according to the original plan until the feasibility study is completed” by Green Tech.
Alara has a circa-A$23 million market capitalisation at its current 3.8c trading price.