11/10/2017 - 15:14

Tronox plans $220m mine projects

11/10/2017 - 15:14

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US company Tronox has gained state government backing for the development of two mineral sands mines north of Perth, to support its value-added manufacturing operations at Kwinana.

Tronox plans $220m mine projects
Tronox's operations spread from Kwinana to north of Perth.

US company Tronox has gained state government backing for the development of two mineral sands mines north of Perth, to support its value-added manufacturing operations at Kwinana.

The new mines are located inland from the coastal towns of Dongara and Cervantes.

Premier Mark McGowan announced today the government has agreed to vary a longstanding state agreement with Tronox to facilitate the new mines.

Under the existing state agreement, Tronox Management operates a mineral sands mine at Cooljarloo, dry processing and synthetic rutile plants near Muchea, and a titanium dioxide pigment plant at Kwinana.

The premier said the new mines, which remain subject to final investment decisions by the company, would generate about $220 million in new capital expenditure and 110 construction jobs.

Mr McGowan said the integration of Tronox’s operations made it one of Western Australia’s most significant value-adding projects, with the processing of ilmenite into titanium dioxide pigment increasing its value by about 15 times.

Tronox’s operations provide a substantial contribution to the state’s economy, including more than 600 direct jobs, over $7 million in annual royalties, and about $250 million spent on local goods and services each year,” Mr McGowan said in a statement.

“This variation will provide Tronox with greater flexibility to remain competitive in the global market by allowing the use of additional feedstock and thereby ensuring production at its state agreement facilities is maintained.”

The proposed Dongara mine was approved by former environment minister Albert Jacob in November 2013 and needs to proceed within five years of that date.

The planned Cooljarloo West mine, near Cervantes, is currently subject to a public environmental review.

It involves the dredge mining of three orebodies, named Woolka, Harrier and Kestrel, according to documents lodged with the Environmental Protection Authority.

The proposal will require movement of the mining dredge and ore processing plant (concentrator) from the existing Cooljarloo mine to Cooljarloo West and back again via flotation across an open channel that will be approximately six kilometres long, 100 metres wide and six metres deep.

Today’s announcement comes six weeks after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission approved the purchase by Tronox of the titanium dioxide business of privately owned competitor Cristal.

New York-listed Tronox announced in February plans to pay $US1.67 billion ($A2.1 billion ) for the global operations of Cristal, which is more formally known as the National Titanium Dioxide Company.

Both companies produce titanium dioxide pigment in Australia, which is used as an additive in coatings, plastic, paper and printing ink.

Cristal 's WA operations include the Wonnerup mineral sands mine 10km east of Busselton and processing plants at Kemerton and Australind near Bunbury.

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