Mineral sands miner Iluka Resources is expanding its operations to Sri Lanka, after being granted four exploration tenements and acquiring the Sri Lanka-based holder of an additional tenement.
Iluka said all of the tenements were located near the city of Puttalam in Sri Lanka’s North West province, covering an aggregate area of 146 square kilometres.
Collectively, the tenements contain a mineral sand resource of 689 million tonnes at an average heavy mineral grade of 8.2 per cent.
Iluka said it intends to undertake feasibility work towards developing the resources.
The company said the initial consideration is US$5 million plus an additional US$10 million on grant of a mining licence and board development approval; plus a trailing 1% royalty on sales.
Iluka said the acquisition of a large, long life sulphate ilmenite deposit advances its strategy to augment its traditional chloride titanium dioxide business model - of supplying high grade feedstocks to the chloride pigment market - with the capability to also serve the sulphate pigment market, including sulphate pigment making capacity in China.
The resource will represent the single largest heavy minerals (HM) resource in Iluka's inventory, and is considered highly competitive in terms of scale and grade.
This provides the opportunity for a long life, material production base with mining extensions and/or expansions possible, the company said.
At close of trade today, Iluka shares were down 1.5 per cent, at $11.57.