31/03/2021 - 16:08

Image unveils 102 million tonne WA mineral sands deposit

31/03/2021 - 16:08

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Image Resources has revealed a raft of resource upgrades across its heavy mineral sands projects in WA’s Mid West region, including the delivery of a massive 102 million tonne resource for its Bidaminna project. The company also continues to process and export a wealth of high-grade zircon-rich ores from its Boonanarring mine whilst it eyes a move into mining at its Atlas deposits in the north of the basin.

Dry mining at Image Resources Boonanarring minerals sands operation north of Perth in WA. Credit: File

Image Resources has revealed a raft of new resources across its heavy mineral sands projects in WA’s Mid West region, including the delivery of a massive 102 million tonne resource at its Bidaminna project. The company also continues to process and export a wealth of high-grade zircon-rich ores from its Boonanarring project whilst it eyes a move into mining at its Atlas deposits in the north of the basin.

The company’s extensive tenement holdings lie in the North Perth Basin and cover a series of ancient strandlines that host an array of lucrative heavy mineral sand, or “HMS” deposits. Image’s principal operations are located at Boonanarring, 80 kilometres north of Perth and sit immediately north of the town of Gingin where the company commenced production in late 2018.

In 2020, Image rounded out a solid year of production from Boonanarring, exporting a record 306,000 tonnes of heavy mineral concentrates and delivering an eye-catching revenue stream of $176 million.

Image’s other assets in the region include the Atlas mining centre, located around 20km east of Cervantes and the Bidaminna deposit, which sits just 15km to the north-west of the company’s Boonanarring mine.

Management is currently looking to expand its operations in the basin and establish a dredging and processing operation at Bidaminna. Image’s inaugural resource over that deposit tips the scales at a massive 102 million tonnes at 2.2 per cent total heavy minerals or “HM”, an incredible 128 per cent increase on the historical resource estimated by its previous owners back in 1992.

Bidaminna could potentially be mined via a wet dredging operation with recent work completed indicating the deposit exhibits a number of highly desirable mining characteristics. The strandline extends along more than 9.5km of strike and sits in two stacked layers, both of which are up to 11.7 metres thick and can extend laterally to more than 650 metres in width.

The strandlines at Bidaminna show low levels of slimes and oversize material whilst hosting a high-value mineral assemblage, making the deposit well suited to a dredging operation. The HM assemblage is made up predominantly of ilmenite, rutile and leucoxene, all of which contain valuable titanium oxide, in addition to the presence of “premium grade” zircon.

Image is now wrapping a scoping study around the new Bidaminna resource, with expert consultants Mineral Technologies already hard at work. The company is proposing to dredge more than 9 million tonnes of heavy minerals sands per annum from the deposit, potentially delivering a 10-year mine life.

First-pass metallurgical and processing test work is also being undertaken at Allied Mineral Laboratories and is delivering the goods, with bulk samples showing that more than 95 per cent of the zircon and 92 per cent of the titanium mineralisation can be recovered via simple wet separation using conventional spirals.

The company expects to advance the Bidaminna scoping study over the coming months - which will also include infill and extensional drilling - before making a decision to proceed into feasibility.

Elsewhere in the Perth Basin, Image’s “MORE” project at Boonanarring is also beginning to gain traction. The aptly named MORE project is aimed at growing the company’s resource base within pumping or trucking distance of the Boonanarring plant, ensuring the region has been appropriately evaluated and mined prior to the mill being uplifted and moved up the road to begin processing the Atlas deposits near Cervantes.

The MORE drilling program looks to be paying dividends with the company posting an inaugural resource for the Boonanarring North, Boonanarring Northwest and Gingin North deposits of 13 million tonnes grading 6.1 per cent HM, with the HM assemblage hosting 11 per cent zircon.

Overall, the company’s development work across the Boonanarring and Atlas mining centres has resulted in an increase of 22 per cent of the total tonnage of resources and a 27 per cent increase in the total contained heavy metals. Image anticipates mining will transition from the Boonanarring strandlines to the growing Atlas mining centre in the third quarter of 2022.

 

Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@businessnews.com.au

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