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Contractor closes in on $20m limestone project

Services contractor MACA is close to securing a $20 million contract with First Quantum Minerals to process limestone at the Tamarine Quarry in Western Australia.

Under the contract, MACA would mine, crush and screen limestone over a three-year period. The material will service First Quantum’s Ravensthorpe nickel processing plant, located 20km away, for pH control purposes.

The Tamarine Quarry’s deposit consists of fossiliferous limestone. Calcrete development within the limestone is generally limited to the top few metres of the profile. The average thickness of limestone within the resource is 12 metres.

A satellite map of First Quantum Minerals’ Tamarine Quarry.

First Quantum Minerals and the local community are keen to explore the post-extractive land use of the 28ha site. The intended rehabilitation strategy, first mooted in 2016, is to spread available topsoil or caprock over the area, batter upper pit walls for safe access, reinstate drainage and return the land to a condition that is suitable for farmland pasture.

First Quantum has sent a letter of intent to MACA and, if the deal proceeds, the latter expects to commence work at Tamarine Quarry from February, using First Quantum’s existing crushing equipment.

In Victoria, MACA’s Civil and Infrastructure business was also awarded a $9.5 million construction contract by VicRoads for the Bacchus Marsh Road Stage 2A Safety Improvements.

The project has commenced and will take six months to complete. In addition, MACA has been awarded additional minor works contracts with VicRoads and local Victorian shires totalling approximately $10 million.

The news comes after the MACA terminated its contract with OZ Minerals subsidiary AVB Mineracao for the Antas copper project in Brazil, following its exit from the Brazilian market this month.

The Antas contract was due to finish this year and will cost MACA around $8 million in unfinished work.

MACA will retain ownership of most of the plant and equipment currently used at Antas and will dispose of assets that are not redeployed to other operations.

The company expects an impairment cost of around $2 million, and an unrealised foreign exchange loss of around $5 million based on current exchange rates.

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