A custom-built mining cutter suction dredger (CSD) has been delivered to Kenmare Resources’ Moma Titanium Minerals Mine on the northeast coast of Mozambique.
Julia is the third vessel in Kenmare’s fleet that was designed and built by IHC in the Netherlands. The design was based on the success of the first two dredgers, Mary-Ann and Catarina. IHC used Mary-Ann and Catarina, which have more than 10 years of operational experience, at Moma, plus new dredging technology, to update and improve the latest vessel, it said in a statement.
“Among the improvements are an increased cutter power and monitor pump power, both to ensure a high production performance of the dredger at Moma,” IHC said. Julia is expected to operate at 600 t/h with the potential to be upgraded to 1,500 t/h in the future.
Kenmare mines heavy minerals at Moma, including the titanium minerals – ilmenite and rutile – as well as zircon.
Ilmenite and rutile are used in manufacturing titanium dioxide pigment (principally used in paints, paper, and plastics because of its high opacity and brilliant whiteness). Titanium metal, which is light and strong with low thermal expansion co-efficient, is used in aerospace and other demanding applications.
The primary application for zircon is in the manufacture of opacifiers for ceramics.
Dredging at Moma takes place in artificial freshwater ponds, where the three dredgers feed floating wet concentrator plants (WCPs). Before dredging, the dredge path is cleared of vegetation and topsoil. The topsoil is recovered for revegetation. The dredgers cut into the ore at the base of the pond, causing the mineralised sand to slump into the mining pond where it is pumped to a WCP.
Julia was shipped in a container from the Netherlands to Nacala port, and then transported by road to the mine.