Image Resources continues to revel in the current market conditions, pushing ahead with an accelerated development program and attracting new buyers for its inventory of zircon-rich, heavy mineral sands concentrates. The company has garnered increasing interest in its high-grade, heavy mineral sands concentrates and is pushing ahead with selective trial mining of the ‘ultra-high -grade’ core of the Boonanarring deposits.
Image Resources continues to revel in the current market conditions, pushing ahead with an accelerated development program and attracting new buyers for its inventory of zircon-rich, heavy mineral sands concentrates. Despite the uncertainties caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the company has garnered increasing interest in its high-grade, heavy mineral sands concentrates and is pushing ahead with selective trial mining of the ‘ultra-high -grade’ core of the Boonanarring deposits.
Image owns and operates the Boonanarring heavy mineral sands mining operations 80 km north of Perth in Western Australia where it is sitting on one of the highest-grade zircon rich mineral sands projects in Australia.
The company commenced mining and processing at the operation in 2018 and has impressed the market from the outset, quickly exceeding the name-plate capacity of the plant and delivering lower than forecast operating costs.
Increasing demand for Image’s heavy mineral sands product has seen the company kick off a new offtake agreement this month with Chinese producers, Shantou Natfort Zirconium & Titanium, or “Natfort” and also with Guangdong Orient Zirconic, or “OZC”. Under this agreement, 100,000 tonnes of heavy mineral concentrate will be delivered through 2020 with the company reporting the successful shipment of the first 30,000 tonnes of product on the 24th of July.
A second shipment of 20,000 tonnes is scheduled to be shipped to Natfort and OZC next month, however Image says it has been approached by an additional group that is not presently an off-take partner, to also supply a nominal 20,000 tonne shipment in August 2020. The company says these sales, coupled with its existing off-take agreements, will help it meet its HMC sales guidance of 300,000 to 330,000 tonnes.
Image Resources Managing Director and CEO, Patrick Mutz said:"The achievement of strong operational performance in the June Quarter, followed by solid evidence of accelerated sale to monetise excess HMC inventory, is a very positive indicator the Company is weathering the overall impacts from COVID-19 favourably.”
The success of Image’s sales program has also prompted a rethink of the mining schedule at Boonanarring, with selective mining of the ultra-high-grade core in the Eastern Strand Line being bought forward.
In May 2019, a batch of the high-value ultra-high-grade product was extracted and stockpiled with analysis showing it to host a premium quality zircon at higher grades than the standard Boonanarring HMC product. These characteristics have prompted Image to expedite the mining and marketing of the ultra-high-grade product as it will attract a premium in the market, adding significantly to the company’s revenue stream.
On the exploration front, Image is pushing forward with its substantial Mineral Ore Reserves ‘MORE’ program. The MORE program is aimed at rapidly delivering mineable tonnes into the company’s inventory, thereby extending the life of the mine and potentially delivering additional operational efficiencies. Any resources within a 10 km radius of the Boonanarring plant are of immediate interest to the company and Image’s short-term goal is to put an additional two years of reserves in the bag before December 2020.
An enviable number of targets lie within Image’s area of interest, with the Boonanarring North and South extensions and the recently discovered Boonanarring West target, high on the list of priorities. The Boonanarring North Extension target area is set to be first off the blocks due to the high-grade nature of the target and its proximity to the current mining area.
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