Increasing demand from gold miners is driving Western Australia’s only sodium cyanide manufacturer to add another 30,000 tonnes per annum to its production facility in Kwinana.
Australian Gold Reagents (AGR) will seek government approval later this year to add 33 per cent more capability from its existing dual plants of more than 90,000tpa, with the sodium cyanide to be used in gold mining operations across Western Australia, Asia, Africa, the Americas and the Middle East.
The company, which is 75 per cent-owned by Wesfarmers CSBP and 25 per cent-owned by Coogee Chemicals, has already completed project feasibility and front-end engineering and design (FEED) studies to explore the project options in more detail, including possible timings and implementation schedules.
AGR General Manager Barney Jones tells WA Works further engineering work to refine the company’s preferred option is nearly complete.
The planned expansion may occur in full or phased over a period of years, with all decisions to be underpinned by operational parameters and the status of the global gold market.
“We’re finishing off engineering as we speak; we’re hoping for a final investment decision in the second half of this calendar year, and then based on the current schedule we have, that means we should start to see first tonnes come through in early 2024 – calendar year 2024,” Jones says.
“The decision as to whether we do everything all at the same time is yet to be made.
“What we’re most conscious of there is actually looking to see what the market demand is like, and the market demand typically grows at about 15,000-ish tonnes per annum — and I’m talking around the world — so if you were going to go and bring it on all at once you’d actually have twice the global market growth in there.
“It’s likely it’ll be ramped up over a number of years. Regardless of which way we do it, I think we would make sure we only increase production as much as the market can take.”
Read more about the AGR plant upgrade in the Autumn edition of WA Works magazine, out soon.