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Mineral Commodities moves forward

MINERAL Commodities has announced plans to proceed with a pre-feasibility study at the Xolobeni Titanium project, 200 kilometres south of Durban in South Africa after receiving a $2.9 million grant from the South African Export Development Fund in return for equity in the project.

The Xolobeni deposit comprises a current resource of 196 million tonnes at 6.7 per cent total heavy minerals (THM) with a 15.2 per cent slimes content. The company plans to develop a five million tonne per annum start-up mining operation producing some 250,000 tonnes per annum of ilmenite concentrate.

Resource sector hub for WA

THE resource sector remained WA’s primary economic driver, with an average annual growth rate over the past decade of 8.4 per cent – more than double the average growth rate of 3.9 per cent per annum for all States.

The annual aggregate revenue from the resource sector rose 5.6 per cent to a new high of $27.2 billion in 2001, according to data from the twice-yearly Statistics Digest produced by the Department of Mineral and Petroleum Resources.

The rise came in the shadow of a dramatic 51 per cent jump in 2000.

MPR director general Jim Limerick said iron ore and the alumina industries were notable stand-outs, achieving record sales and output volumes.

“A weakened Australian dollar in 2001 also helped shelter key sectors such as gold, iron ore, alumina and mineral sands from the full brunt of global conditions late in the year,” he said.

KDC sells first diamond patch

THE owner of WA’s most recently commissioned diamond mine at Ellendale in the Kimberley has sold its first patch of diamonds. Around 4,550 carats were sold at an average price of $US99.09 a carat to Overseas Diamonds in Antwerp, realising $451,000 for the Kimberley Diamond Company.

The company is expecting to produce approximately 13,000 carats from Pipe 9 for the first quarter of fiscal 2002-03 after signing up NRW Pty Ltd as mining contractors for one year.

Alkane proceeds

ALKANE Exploration Ltd has begun its 4,000-metre air core/reverse cycle drilling program at the Wyoming prospect, 12 kilometres north of its Peak Hill gold mine in New South Wales.

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