Quebec Approves C$1.2B Lac à Paul Phosphate Project
The Lac à Paul project is located approximately 200 km north of the city of Saguenay. A 2013 feasibility study outlines development of an open-pit mine and concentrator producing a high-quality apatite concentrate and a transport system delivering the product year round to a deep-water port on the Saguenay River. The project has a 25.75-year mine life, excluding preproduction, at an average production rate of 3 million mt/y of phosphate concentrate, grading 38.6% P2O5.
Proven and probable mineral reserves at a 3.5% P2O5 cut-off grade stand at 472.1 million mt at an average grade of 6.9% P2O5.
Open-pit mining will be based on conventional drill, blast, load and haul methods. The Lac à Paul beneficiation plant is designed to process an average of 55,000 mt/d. The flowsheet includes primary crushing followed by SAG mill and ball mill grinding, with ball mills operating in closed circuit with classification hydrocyclones. The classified product will feed to a Low Intensity Magnetic Separation (LIMS) circuit, where magnetite-rich gangue will be removed ahead of the flotation circuit.
Flotation concentrate produced by column flotation cells will be thickened, filtered through pressure filters, and dried in a flash dryer to obtain a product moisture content of 1±0.5%. Mill phosphate recovery is estimated at about 90%.