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Portman to extend $7.4m project

COCKATOO Island, touted as a stunning new tourist resort in the heart of WA’s Kimberley region, will be the site of a revitalised $7.4 million resource project by Portman Mining Limited aimed at boosting its iron ore production.

Portman has given the green light to a project to extend the life of the Cockatoo iron ore operation, based on a 1.6 million tonne resource of high-grade haematite ore at the eastern end of the old pit previously mined by BHP.

This is expected to raise Portman’s profile in Asian iron ore markets by offering a new high grade sinister fines product.

The new expanded project, a 50:50 joint venture with Henry Walker Eltin, is expected to come into production in July, around three months after the existing Cockatoo Island operation – based on production of concentrates from the waste stockpile left by BHP – ceases.

Portman managing director Geoff Wedlock said the synergy with HWE was the “best way to undertake the project” in terms of cost minimisation, operating flexibility and risk sharing.

“Marketing such a high grade product in Asia will assist Portman overall in terms of market development,” he said.

Portman general manager Richard Mehan described customer interest in the product as “extremely strong” because of its very high grade ore and low level of impurities.

‘We expect that up to fifty steel mills in Asia are potential buyers of the project with sales being assisted by expectations of a much stronger iron ore market over the next two years,” he said.

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