Carnegie chases Zircon cash

Venture capitalist group Carnegie Corporation’s latest resources deal is expected to deliver healthy cash-flow to support the company’s other projects.

Under a joint venture agreement expected to be finalised by the end of the month, Carnegie anticipates commercialising its zircon stockpile in The Gambia, West Africa.

On completion of the deal with Sydney-based Astron Limited, Carnegie will be able to process this stockpile, and deliver the concentrate to a nearby port.

Astron will both fund the concentrate production and purchase the end-product for between US$65 and US$85 per tonne, and may also fund further development of Carnegie’s heavy mineral reserves.

All concentrate is destined for China, where Astron supplies 65 per cent of the zirconia market.

Carnegie believes it has 25 per cent zircon in the stockpile, representing 12,000 tonnes that will be fed into a planned gravity concentration plant.

Extra funds will be welcomed by Carnegie, which has been trading at around 1.3 cents.

The company is proposing to put $250,000 into chairman Alan Burns’ wave energy invention, for a 50 per cent interest, and is seeking other partners for further financing and development.

Carnegie is also keen to advance its recreational watercraft project, and has lodged provisional patent applications over the stabiliser system and deck configuration.

With appropriate funding it hopes to be able to construct a full-size prototype within the year.

Earlier this month West Perth-based TZ Minerals International reported strength in the zircon industry, with most demand driven by China.

TZMI’s annual mineral sands industry review predicted the major zircon suppliers – Iluka, Namakwa Sands, Rio Tinto, and Ticor - would be able to operate at full capacity for the next two years.

The growth rate for zircon consumption is expected to be 2.5 per cent during 2003 and 2004, TZMI said.


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