After two successful years of mining, the zircon-rich Boonanarring deposit in the North Perth Basin, mineral sands miner Image Resources has an eye to the future as it looks to bring the 9.5 million tonne Atlas project into production. A mining lease for Atlas has now been granted with transition to the project predicted for the December quarter next year.
After two successful years of mining the zircon-rich Boonanarring deposit in the North Perth Basin, mineral sands miner Image Resources has an eye to the future as it looks to bring the 9.5 million tonne Atlas project into production. A mining lease for Atlas has now been granted with transition to the project predicted for the December quarter next year.
The company’s 2017 bankable feasibility study outlined the plans to mine the Boonanarring deposit followed by a relocation of the wet concentrator plant to Atlas. The total remaining mine-life based on the Boonanarring and Atlas reserves combined is around 4.5 years at a processing rate of 3.5 million tonnes per annum.
The granting of the mining lease is a critical step in the company’s planning and implementation process for the transition to mining at Atlas.
As reported, Image is well-prepared for the relocation of the plant and planning is well-advanced. According to the guidance from the 2017 feasibility study, a period of three months with no production is anticipated with a $25 million cost to complete the process. Management previously reported that the costs which are currently being re-estimated will be covered by the company’s cash reserves.
There is also a possibility to extend the mine-life from new ore sourced from the Helene and Hyperion projects located in the vicinity of Atlas. Image is currently investigating the potential for ore reserves from the two projects to be economically transferred to the wet concentrator plant once it is re-located to Atlas.
Atlas currently holds a resource of 9.5 million tonnes going 8.1 per cent heavy minerals, with 18.1 per cent zircon and rutile combined.
Helene and Hyperion host a combined resource of 18.2 million tonnes grading 4.8 per cent heavy minerals, with 14 per cent zircon and rutile content.
Image has built a portfolio of projects in the infrastructure-rich North Perth Basin that extends well beyond the existing mining operations and plans for Boonanarring and Atlas. No less than ten other projects complete the total resource base for Image.
Like Boonanaring and Atlas, the company holds five other projects that are suitable to dry open-cut mining. The Red Gully, Regans Ford, Helene/Hyperion, Gingin South and Gingin North deposits contain an eye-catching 45 million tonnes in combined resources grading 6.5 per cent heavy minerals and 14 per cent in zircon and rutile.
Image also owns the Bidaminna, Titan-Telesto and Calypso projects that are suitable to dredge mining.
A recent resource upgrade for Bidaminna more than doubled the tonnage at the project bumping up the resources to 102 million tonnes at 2.2 per cent heavy minerals, which include a high-value mineral assemblage of 5 per cent zircon, 4 per cent rutile, 36 per cent leucoxene and 48 per cent ilmenite.
Titan-Telesto holds 140 million tonnes at 1.9 per cent heavy minerals with combined zircon and rutile at 12.8 per cent, while Calypso contains 51 million tonnes at 1.7 per cent heavy minerals with 15.9 per cent zircon and rutile.
Two profitable years of mining at Boonanarring has left the company cashed up with $34 million at the end of 2020 and looking to be debt-free in 2021. Financial success from the mining operation has also delivered welcome news to shareholders in the form of an inaugural unfranked dividend of $0.02 per share announced last month.
As Image starts to turn its attention to mining at Atlas, more financial successes would not be a surprise for this cashed-up miner who has shown that it knows how to get things done.
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