Boonanarring and Atlas mineral sands project, Australia – update

Image of mineral sands

Photo by ©Bloomberg

1st December 2023

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor


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Name of the Project
Boonanarring and Atlas mineral sands project.

North Perth basin, Western Australia.

Project Owner/s
Image Resources.

Project Description
The Boonanarring and Atlas deposits form part of Image Resources’ North Perth Basin mineral sands project, which represents one of the highest-grade mineral sands resources under evaluation worldwide.

Boonanarring has a resource of 30.3-million tonnes at 6% heavy mineral, with a mineral assemblage that includes 20.4% zircon. The reserve is 10.7-million tonnes at 8.9% heavy mineral, with a mineral assemblage that includes 27.5% zircon.

The Boonanarring deposit will be mined first using conventional, dry and openpit mining techniques to extract the ore, and standard gravity separation in a wet concentration plant (WCP) to recover the contained heavy mineral into a heavy minerals concentrate (HMC) for sale. The HMC will be transported by road to a storage facility at Bunbury, where it will be loaded onto ships and transported in bulk to China.

Once mining at Boonanarring has been concluded, the WCP will be relocated to the Atlas deposit. Mining at Atlas will also be conducted using dry, opencut mining techniques. Over the life of the current ore reserves at Boonanarring, the HMC is expected to contain an estimated 610 000 t of ilmenite, 310 000 t of zircon, 25 000 t of rutile and 14 000 t of leucoxene.

The Atlas project is expected to start operation when Boonanarring is depleted, at which time key infrastructure, including the existing WCP, will be relocated from Boonanarring to Atlas.

At Atlas, production of about 210 000 t/y of HMC for 711 000 t/y is envisaged over the life-of-mine. The project has a resource of 18.1-million tonnes at 6% heavy mineral, with a mineral assemblage that includes 9.3% zircon, 46% ilmenite, 4% leucoxene and 6.5% rutile. Mineral reserves are estimated at 9.5-million tonnes at 8.1% heavy mineral, with a mineral assemblage that includes 10.6% zircon, 51% ilmenite, 4.5% leucoxene and 7.5% rutile.

Potential Job Creation
Not stated.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
The project has a pretax net present value (NPV) of A$235-million and an internal rate of return (IRR) of 125%, with a payback of 13 months.

Capital Expenditure
Total developmental capital is estimated at A$51.7-million.

Planned Start/End Date
Project construction was completed on time and on budget in 2023, ramping up to nameplate capacity in only the second month of operation.

Latest Developments
Image Resources has received A$22-million from the sale of its final bulk shipment of HMC.

Mining and processing at Boonanarring were completed in August.

The final shipment of 27 700 wet metric tonnes was loaded on November 19, and the company received payment on November 28. Image now has cash of about A$50-million.

Image will relocate mining and processing equipment to Atlas as soon as permitting is finalised.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
None stated.

Contact Details for Project Information
Image Resources, tel +61 8 9485 2410, fax +61 8 94868312 or email


Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor




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